Emissions & Smoke Portal > Educational Resources > Smoke Management and Air Quality for Land Managers Tutorial > Module 1: Impacts of Smoke

    Module 1: Impacts of Smoke


       Image courtesy of George Broyles.

    Module 1 will cover the human health and safety impacts of smoke. To recognize the importance of air quality it is necessary to understand the impacts wildland fire smoke has on humans. These impacts are the primary factor taken into consideration when air quality rules and regulations are promulgated.

    There are a variety of trace gases and particulates in smoke which can be harmful to human health. This module will outline the health impacts caused by these substances. This module will cover the following topics: 

    • Particulate matter
    • Ozone
    • Other compounds
    • Public health
    • Transportation safety
    • Fire Personnel health
    • Nuisance smoke
    • Air Quality Index (AQI)

     Upon completion of this module you should be able to do the following: 

    • Describe the harmful compounds in smoke from wildland fires
    • Understand the impacts smoke has on public and firefighter health
    • Know the impacts of smoke on visibility affecting transportation 

    Note: Throughout these modules we refer to 'wildfires', 'wildland fires' and 'prescribed fires'. These refer to the terms as defined by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group:

    Wildfire:  An unplanned, unwanted wildland fire including unauthorized human-caused fires, escaped wildland fire use events, escaped prescribed fire projects, and all other wildland fires where the objective is to put the fire out.

    Wildland Fire: Any non-structure fire that occurs in vegetation or natural fuels. Wildland fire includes prescribed fire and wildfire.  

    Prescribed Fire: Any fire intentionally ignited by management actions in accordance with applicable laws, policies, and regulations to meet specific objectives.