Smoke News and Events Archive

GPO logoReview of the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Nitrogen; Proposed - Public Comments Due by 9/25/17

Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 142 (Wed. 7/27/17) SUMMARY: Based on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) review of the air quality criteria addressing human health effects of oxides of nitrogen and the primary national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the EPA is proposing to retain the current standards, without revision.

Science Daily: Where there's fire, there's smoke -  and social media

The fact that people reliably flock to social media to discuss smoke and fire was the inspiration for a new study by atmospheric scientists. The researchers showed striking correlation between numbers of Facebook users posting about visible smoke, and commonly used datasets for estimating harmful smoke exposure...

FASMEE_webinar2.pngWildland Fire Smoke and Roadway Visibility: Predict, Prepare and Avert Accidents - June 15, 22, & 29 1:00 pm Eastern

A 3-part webinar series will be held in June 2017 to address this issue. The webinars will be approximately 2 hours each, and are hosted by the NWCG Smoke Committee, Southern Fire Exchange, The Nature Conservancy, and Montgomery Community College NC Prescribed Fire Training Center.

Part 1: Superfog (.mp4)

Part 2: Weather Information & Tools (.mp4)

Part 3: Piedmont, Superfog Potential and Estimated Smoldering Potential (.mp4)

BlueSky_map.pngWebinar - Indoor Air Quality During Wildland Fires: Experience and Research, by Kris Ray and Shelly Miller

A webinar containing two presentations on indoor air quality. The first, from Kris Ray, evaluates indoor air quality during very high ambient PM2.5 concentrations at the Colville Reservation in Washington State, which resulted from the 2015 wildfire season. The second presentation, from Shelly Miller, evaluates the impact of indoor air cleaning devices during wildland fires.

FASMEE_webinar2.pngWebinar - Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE), by Roger Ottmar, Sim Larkin, Tim Brown, and Nancy French

This webinar will review the objectives and progress of the multi-agency Fire and Smoke Modeling Experiment (FASMEE) project. The primary objective of FASMEE is to gather observational data needed to evaluate and advance fire and smoke modeling systems. 

BlueSky_map.pngRegional Haze Rule Revision and Draft Guidance Revision 

Proposed Amendments to the Regional Haze Rule are available on the EPA's proposed rulemaking web page for Regional Haze

Information on 'Draft Guidance on Progress Tracking Metrics, Long-Term Strategies, Reasonable Progress Goals and Other Requirements for Regional Haze State Implementation Plans for the Second Implementation' is available on the EPA's draft guidance web page

Looking for a specific webinar or announcement? Videos and webinars are now collected on the Smoke Webinars and Videos page located in the Smoke Management Resources tab. Older announcements have been archived and are available on the Smoke News and Events archive page.

BlueSky_map.pngMethods for Determining Mixing Height, by Matthew Fearon and Robyn Heffernan

Now available on the Southern Fire Exchange website. This webinar features researcher Matthew Fearon of the Desert Research Institute discussing recent research investigating various methods for estimating atmospheric mixing height. Following his presentation Robyn Heffernan with the National Weather Service discussed NWS plans for their mixing height determination procedures.

BlueSky_map.pngDecember 17, 2015, Webinar: 'Impairment’ – A New Metric to Track Progress under the Regional Haze Rule, by Scott Copeland (FS)

US EPA’s 1999 Regional Haze Rule (RHR) is the only Clean Air Act program aimed solely at protecting the visual air quality, or “visibility” in many wildernesses, national parks, and wildlife refuges. Progress is being made towards the Clean Air Act goal of no manmade visibility impairment in class I areas, however, haze from wildfires and prescribed fires has made it difficult for many states to demonstrate that progress. While the largest recent effects from smoke are seen in western states, fossil fuel emissions reductions in the east will lead to the same issue arising in eastern states in the near future.

For the past year, US EPA has collaborated with federal land managers, and consulted with state air agencies to develop a new metric that focuses attention on anthropogenic emissions. The new metric can be easily calculated from IMPROVE data, and provides a new method for states to demonstrate progress towards the Regional Haze Rule goal.

EPA Resource Page.pngNovember 18, 2015, New Ozone Resources Page

In October the EPA strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone. This new standard will have implications for the wildland fire community. The Ozone Resources page highlights regulatory information from the EPA, maps of potential non-attainment areas, testimonies, and the latest reports and research collected by the NWCG Smoke Committee.

BlueSky_map.pngNovember 10 2015, Proposed Revisions to the Exceptional Events Rule

The EPA proposed revisions to the 2007 Exceptional Events Rule (EER) as of November 10. To view the proposed rule see the EPA proposal. For additional information, draft guidance and a fact sheet, visit the EPA's Proposed EER Revision and Draft Guidance Page. Written comments on the proposal and its draft guidance may be sent to EPA by January 19, 2016.

EPA Resource Page.pngOctober 1 2015, New Primary Ozone Standard for NAAQS

In October 2015 the EPA strengthened the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone to 70 parts per billion. This new standard will have implications for the wildland fire community. The EPA regulatory action page for ozone contains the final rule, memo for implementing the new standard, regulatory impact analysis, maps and tables, fact sheets, and technical documents.

BlueSky_map.pngBlueSky Daily Runs beta

The USFS AirFire Team has posted a time-lapse representation of smoke production, concentration, and movement from wildfires using the BlueSky Modeling Framework. Choose your time frame, region, and view the animation.

Google_air.png3 August 2015, Google mapping city air quality with Street View vehicles

The sensors measure the amount of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the air.......Article from Megan Treacy

Domitrovich_workshop.jpgWorkshop: Wildland Fire Smoke Health Effects Research and Tools to Inform Public Health Policy and Recommendations

Summary and presentations now available through the Emission and Smoke Portals Health Effects Research webpage. The four hour workshop was presented during the April 2015 International Wildland Fire conference in Boise Idaho. Experts discussed new science on health impacts of smoke and opportunities to further inform and support development of health policy and recommendations. The workshop included a discussion of new and emerging health research to inform public health policy, presentations focusing on guidelines and recommendations to reduce the public health impacts of smoke exposure, and presentations on new tools for estimating smoke exposure and forecasting.

16 April 2015, Smoke from North Dakota Wildfire causes pileup on interstate highway

BISMARCK, North Dakota — Authorities have blamed smoke from wildfires for a multiple-vehicle pileup on Interstate 29 in northeastern North Dakota that sent eight people to the hospital....Wildfire Today article by Bill Gabbert

flying_into_smoke_4_14_15.png 13 April 2015, Where wildfires and climate Scientists meet

A chemist flies through smoke plumes to better understand global warming....Scieneline article by Shannon Hall

emission_factor_pic.pngPresentation: Wildland Fire Emission Factors - Shawn Urbanski, Research Scientist with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station presented the latest research in emission factors. Emission factors are a key component to estimating emissions of trace gases and particulates from fire. Shawn discussed how emission factors are measured, factors that influence the measurements (e.g. fire combustion phase, vegetation type), lab/field/airborne/tower measurement techniques, and the new suite of non-methane organic compounds now detectable.

-Recorded webinar via TNC's Conservation Gateway

-PDF version of presentation

National Fire Danger Rating System Updates - In September of 2014 the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) approved updates to the US National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS). These included reducing the number of fuels models, the incorporation of a Growing Season Index to compute live fuel moistures and the incorporation of the Nelson model to compute defined dead fuel moistures. The NWCG Smoke Committee has reviewed two presentations on the proposed changes to the NFDRS, these are available below:

-National Fire Danger Rating System Proposed Update, Jon Wallace, Fire Danger Subcommittee Chair. (YouTube Video link)

-What are the impacts, implications and/or collateral effect of NFDRS proposed changes to itself and other potential applications outside wildfire preplanning, suppression response arena?, Gary Curcio, IPA. (PowerPoint Version with Notes for Review) (PDF Version)

3/3/15 Southwest Wildland Fire Smoke Workshop Presentations Now Available: Presentations from the Nov. 2014 Smoke Workshop are now available at the Southwest Fire Science Consortium workshop homepage.

Canadian National Smoke Forum The National Smoke Forum was held on October 10, 2014 in Halifax, NS. The objective of this meeting was to conduct an information exchange with users of smoke forecasting systems such as BlueSky for Canada. The meeting was held in conjunction with the Wildland Fire Canada 2014 conference to maximize participation from the fire community and well as to introduce health agencies to the fire community. Forty-two people attended this meeting along with 35 others who connected remotely. Attendees included the fire, environment, and health and safety experts from federal and provincial agencies as well as the US. A result of this meeting is an effort to define a national standing forum or national coordinating body for smoke and air quality that can help future direction of smoke forecasting and research as well as understanding the health impacts in Canada.

Copies of the presentations and posters can be found at: 2014 National Smoke Forum

15 Sept 2014 - Where the wildfires are: if there's smoke, there are costly health problems

Scientists fear that climate change could lead to more wildfires – and to lingering, expensive, public health crises as smoke spreads thousands of miles away from the actual fire sites. - article by Amy Westervelt