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Sub-Canopy Transport and Dispersion of Smoke

Presented by: Joint Fire Science Program, International Association of Wildland Fire, Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center
Speaker: Tara Strand

Low intensity prescription burning is used to reduce fuels, improve ecosystem health, and to mimic a natural fire pattern that is otherwise suppressed during the more intense wildfire season. There are many constraints that limit the ability to conduct prescribed burn operations, including (but not limited to) visibility reduction in transportation corridors, and compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for fine particulate matter (aerodynamic diameter ≤ 2.5 micrometers, PM2.5) and ozone. 

There is a need for tools that predict potential smoke impacts so that prescribed burns can be carried out within the parameters of these constraints. The sub-canopy transport and dispersion of smoke project was designed to collect a comprehensive dataset that would allow for the testing of the existing modeling pathways within the BlueSky Modeling Framework and, if needed, develop additional modeling pathways, for low intensity or smoldering fires. 

The objective of this study was to collect cohesive data sets that represent low intensity fire smoke emissions and dispersion processes. The goal was to find a smoke modeling pathway within the BlueSky Framework that could be used operationally to predict smoke concentrations from low intensity burns. Observation and modeling results will be presented along with interpretation of what the mean for burn managers.