USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Evaluation of prescribed burn impacts on air quality and visibility in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Principal Investigator:
L.-W. Antony Chen, Desert Research Institute
Mark C. Green, Desert Research Institute

Proposal [pdf]

Final Report [pdf]

Additional Report:
Malamakal et al. 2013 [pdf]

Please contact Dr. L.-W. Antony Chen with questions regarding the final report.

Project Summary

Prescribed burning has been conducted in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin (LTB) to maintain natural succession of plant communities and to reduce wildfire danger. During 2011-2012, approximately 2000 acres of wildland in the LTB were subjected to understory or slash-pile burns. Although these prescribed burns are conducted under strict guidelines, they can still be an important source of air pollutants, particularly fine particulate matter (PM2.5), in the LTB. This research combined ambient air quality monitoring, in-plume source measurements, and dispersion modeling to characterize prescribed burning emissions and evaluate the magnitude and spatiotemporal distribution of smoke impacts.