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Memorandum of Understanding on Prescribed Burning
Between the California Air Resources Board and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region

Whereas, the mission of the Air Resources Board (ARB) is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the State;

Whereas, the mission of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service (FS) is often characterized by the phrase ``caring for the land and serving people'', and, as set forth in law, is to achieve quality land management under the sustainable multiple-use management concept to meet the diverse needs of people;

Whereas, protection of public health from the adverse impacts of air pollution through the attainment and maintenance of state and national ambient air quality standards is required by state and federal law as is the reduction of excessive flammability in California wildlands that can support large wildfires, which destroy life, property and natural resources;

Whereas, it is desirable to meet both goals through an intensive, coordinated, federal, state, regional and local effort to improve air quality and forest health for public enjoyment and safety;

Whereas, it is desirable to use prescribed fires, from either management ignitions or natural ignitions, in a safe, carefully controlled, cost-effective manner as a means of achieving the management objectives defined in the Federal Wildland Fire Policy;

Whereas, the use of prescribed fires may reduce the long-term flammability of forested areas and reduce smoke emissions;

Whereas, the ARB is empowered to adopt rules protecting public health and preventing violation of ambient air quality standards;

Whereas, the FS has the authority to manage resources, including air resources, on National Forest System lands;

Whereas, towards this end, it is in the best interest of the citizens of California for the FS and the ARB (hereinafter, "the Parties") to work together to conduct prescribed burning in a manner that will minimize smoke impacts and air pollution while safely reducing wildland flammability.

Now, therefore, the Parties agree to the following:

I. General Provisions:

A. Common goals:
· to ensure that prescribed burning is conducted and regulated at the regional and local levels by the responsible ranger districts and air pollution control districts in accordance with all legal requirements, including but not limited to applicable provisions of Title 5100 of the Forest Service Manual and Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations, in order to meet the missions and mandates of both Parties.

· to cooperatively develop and implement state-of-the-art smoke management techniques, analysis, and coordination that will minimize the public health impacts from smoke and facilitate opportunities to accommodate prescribed fire needed to protect human life, property, and natural resources.

· to cooperate with other parties involved with prescribed burning, including the public, to ensure that the prescribed burning program is managed in a sound scientific manner that will enhance ecosystem sustainability and ensure that cumulative smoke impacts are eliminated or minimized.

· to establish and implement on a regular basis a formal cooperative relationship between the ARB and the FS.

B. Participating agencies:
California Air Resources Board
U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region

C. Authority:

The federal signatories of this MOU enter into this agreement under the authorities of their respective enabling legislation and the federal Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. sections 7401-7626. State and local air agencies are given the authority to implement and enforce the Clean Air Act and state laws through both the federal act and the California Health and Safety Code, section 39000 et. seq.
D. General responsibilities: Nothing in this MOU supersedes or changes any rule, regulation, or legislation pertaining to either party. Nothing in this MOU supersedes or changes any existing or future agreement between any air pollution control district(s) and Forest Service unit that is operating to the satisfaction of the signatories and in compliance with the regulations set forth in Title 17.
II. The U.S.D.A. Forest Service agrees to: A. Coordinate with other agencies/groups by:
  · registering all planned burn projects annually with the ARB and the appropriate local or regional air district(s), including areas considered for potential naturally ignited wildland fires managed for resource benefits, with updates as they occur.

· preparing smoke management plans for all burns for review and approval by the local air district.

· coordinating with the appropriate air district(s) and others planning burns for the same time period before conducting a prescribed burn to avoid cumulative smoke impacts and maintaining daily coordination as long as the burn is active.

· including in the Prescribed Fire Incident Reporting System (PFIRS), or any mutually agreeable follow-on system, a post-burn review for large, overnight, multi-day, multi-agency, or sensitive area burns. The review shall discuss why the burn was either successful or unsuccessful in terms of smoke management, acres burned vs. planned, and include comments about improvements that could be made to management and implementation of future burns.

B. Limit public exposure to smoke by:
  · considering all practical alternatives to burning.

· applying all appropriate emission reduction techniques.

· limiting the amount of material to be burned on any one day based on the meteorological and air quality conditions, in consultation with ARB and/or the local air district, and the Interagency Fire Forecast Warning Units.

C. Review burn decisions by:
  · requesting the start of 48-hour prescribed burn decisions no more than one week before the planned burn start date and obtaining local air district approval the day before (unless otherwise agreed to with air districts) igniting each burn.

· facilitating the review, approval, and coordination of all 48-hour decisions that are used for large, overnight, multi-day, multi-agency, or sensitive area burns by daily contact with the ARB and district providing the burn approval.

· consulting with ARB and avoiding new or further ignitions when smoke impacts are expected to be unacceptable. Exceptions to this might include but are not limited to conditions where further ignitions could avoid higher smoke concentrations from prolonged smoldering or where fire fighter or public safety is associated with the decision.

· declaring that when a natural ignition occurs on a "no-burn" day, the initial "go/no go" decision to manage the fire for resource benefit will be a "no go", unless, after consultation, the ARB or local air district decides that the burn can proceed.

· providing to districts (unless otherwise agreed) for all burns, especially overnight burns, a daily review of the burn progress, meteorological conditions, smoke plume dispersion and public safety. This information will be used to develop coordinated input into decisions to continue or discontinue burning or ignition.

D. Prepare and implement smoke management plans by:
  · identifying and mapping smoke sensitive areas, such as towns, schools, hospitals, etc., in coordination with the local or regional air district.

· providing projections of anticipated smoke vectors from burns both day and night.

· including in smoke management plans specific contingency actions that will be taken if smoke impacts occur or meteorological conditions go out of prescription. Such actions could include providing resources to put out the fire, sectioning burns into smaller areas, etc. Contingency actions will be evaluated with respect to firefighter and public safety.

E. Collect and provide the following data for burns greater than 250 acres that are near sensitive areas as agreed to with the air district (unless otherwise stated, data shall be transmitted to the ARB and the air district in real-time via the Internet or other appropriate means):
  · winds (direction and speed) and temperatures aloft up to 5,000 feet above ground level, when measuring equipment is reasonably available.

· surface weather data (winds, temperature, and relative humidity).

· particulate matter monitoring near sensitive areas as negotiated with the air district.

· smoke plume monitoring by aircraft and/or satellite will continue to be developed. Forest Service will strive to make data available to ARB, unless other arrangements are made.

III. The ARB agrees to: · use the most appropriate meteorological tools when making burn/no-burn decisions.

· work with FS meteorologists to improve the capability of localized prescribed fire forecasts.

· develop improved methods of gathering and sharing meteorological and pollutant data.

· promptly issue 48?hour burn decisions when requested to do so by the FS for specific prescribed burns that are likely to occur as scheduled, and review these decisions on the morning of the burn to verify that conditions are as forecast.

· review, or have the appropriate air district(s) review, specific smoke management plans and provide recommendations.

· advise all air districts in which prescribed burning is anticipated to occur of this MOU (and forward a copy to them), and assist the districts by providing technical guidance and training as necessary.

· assist in the siting of appropriate air quality monitors.

· assist FS in training personnel in smoke management related courses; investigate with the FS an appropriate level of ARB assistance in wildfire management; and review the need to monitor wildfires and develop public warning and information strategies.

IV. The U.S.D.A. Forest Service and the ARB jointly agree to: · provide each other with the data or information necessary to achieve the goals of this MOU.

· participate in the PFIRS (or any follow-on system) program maintained by the FS to coordinate and report prescribed burning activity.

· use the mutually agreed to reporting system to develop and institute procedures for daily interagency communication and coordination for gathering and sharing meteorological and other data for individual burns.

· provide mutual assistance in siting meteorological and monitoring equipment and communications hookups whenever practicable.

· cooperate to acquire frequent very high?resolution satellite images capable of monitoring smoke plumes.

· conduct joint investigations as necessary when serious smoke impacts occur.

· work together to identify and promote the ``Best Management Practices'' to be used to reduce and manage smoke emissions, including mutual development of a way to match burns with daily meteorological conditions.

  · evaluate the applicability of the fire emissions trade off model.

· develop a joint public education strategy as part of the ``Best Management Practices'' concept.

· develop procedural elements for smoke impact contingency plans as part of the ``Best Management Practices'' concept.

· develop data needs and acquisition methods in the ``Best Management Practices'' concept.

· develop methodologies to estimate emission amounts and maintain inventories in the ``Best Management Practices'' concept.

· identify, evaluate, and incorporate appropriate meteorological and smoke dispersal models in the ``Best Management Practices'' concept.

· develop a small ad-hoc team to implement key aspects of this agreement. The Regional Forester of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service and the Executive Officer of the ARB will meet annually or as necessary to discuss issues of concern related to prescribed fire and air quality.

V. Terms of Agreement: A. This MOU will remain in effect for a period of two years from the date of agreement, unless extended in writing by both Parties.   B. This MOU may be modified as necessary upon written consent of all parties or participation may be terminated by any party by giving thirty (30) days notice in writing to each party to this MOU. VI. Principal Contacts:
U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Trent Procter
900 W. Grand
Porterville, California 93257
(559) 784-1500 ext. 1114
E-mail: tprocter/
California Air Resources Board
Don McNerny
2020 L Street
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 322-6048

VII. Other Signatory Agencies:

This agreement recognizes that other entities may be added to the agreement as amendments.

VIII. Required Clauses:

A. During the performance of this MOU, the participants agree to abide by the terms of Executive Order 11246 (non-discrimination) and will not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The participants will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

B. This Agreement is neither a fiscal nor funds obligation document. Any endeavor involving reimbursement or contribution of funds between the parties will be handled in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and procedures.

C. This Agreement in no way restricts either party from participating in similar activities with other public or private agencies, organizations and individuals.

D. No member or delegate to Congress, or resident Commissioner, shall be admitted to any share or part of this MOU, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom, but this provision shall not be construed to extend to this MOU made with a corporation for its general benefit.


Michael P. Kenny
Executive Officer



Bradley E. Powell
Acting Regional Forester
Pacific Southwest Region


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