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Title: Prescribed fire and air quality in the American South: a review of conflicting interests and a technique for incorporating the land manager into regional air quality modeling

Author: Achtemeier, Gary L.;

Date: 2013

Source: Remote sensing and modeling applications to wildland fires

Publication Series: Book Chapter

Description: In this paper, conflicting interests in prescribed burn practice and improving air quality in the South are reviewed. Conflicting societal interests and legislative actions threaten to curtail the use of prescribed fire to manage for endangered species and for other land management objectives in the South. This comes at a time when efforts are being made to increase prescribed burning on existing forest land and to initiate prescribed burning on tracts of old agricultural land that are being restored to forest land. Regulatory interests regarding impacts of regional haze on visibility and impacts of fine particulate matter on health are increasingly in conflict with management objectives driven by natural resource management. The air quality community is increasingly relying on computer air quality models for understanding the movement of pollutants across regions and for the chemical interactions of airborne materials. The success of air quality/air chemistry models depends on the availability of accurate source inventories. Wildland burning in the South is considered a significant contributor to the organics inventory. Because prescribed fires are managed, the timing and locations of burns and where in the atmosphere fire products are distributed must be taken into account. Therefore land managers become active players in local and regional air quality. A technique for incorporating the land manager into regional air quality modeling is described. The core of the technique is two modeling tools for dealing with the conflicting interests, that is, a dynamical-stochastic smoke model, Daysmoke, and a "modeling framework", the SHRMC-4S. Daysmoke distributes smoke in the atmosphere after the manner the burns are "engineered" by land managers. SHRMC-4S is constructed by linking an atmospheric chemical model, CMAQ, with Daysmoke. Applications of the two modeling tools to a prescribed burn case are illustrated. Daysmoke produces a ground PM level close to the measured value if complex plume structures are correctly modeled. CMAQ simulations of ground-level PM for a single prescribed fire suffer from grid resolution.

Keywords: prescribed burning, smoke, air quality, modeling, daysmoke, SHRMC-4S

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Achtemeier, Gary L. 2013. Prescribed fire and air quality in the American South: a review of conflicting interests and a technique for incorporating the land manager into regional air quality modeling. In Qu, John J.; Sommers, William T.; Yang, Ruixin; Riebau, Allen R. Remote sensing and modeling applications to wildland fires. Beijing, China: Tsinghua University Press and Oxfordshire, England: Springer. Pgs. 99-115.


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