Smoke science and research needs


The impending changes to the air quality standards reinforce the need for increased knowledge and action on the smoke issues and air quality. Currently, emission calculations for prescribed pasture burning are not accurate and reliable, due to lack of information on areas burned and the amount of fuels consumed, and insufficient emission factors. A high quality smoke emissions inventory is critical in order to reduce uncertainty as to how fire should be managed. Also, in response to more stringent ozone and fine particulate standards, air quality management is demanding higher levels of competency in smoke modeling as well as objective evidence that smoke models can provide accurate and reliable results. In circumstances where fire, climate change and growing populations are interconnecting, it is clear that we need to improve our understanding on impact of fire smoke on human health and the health of the surrounding ecosystems, as well as public perception of fire smoke. In 2010, the Joint Fire Science program conducted a wildland fire smoke needs assessments and published a smoke science plan, which identified the following four linked and complementary research themes: smoke emissions inventory, smoke model validation, smoke and populations, climate change and smoke.