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Agricultural smoke: Experiments to improve agricultural smoke decision support tools

Status: 
Action
Dates: 
January, 2012 to December, 2015

Agriculture is a vital part of the Northwest’s economy and is critical to the region’s rural communities. The production cycle of cereal crops and grasses, which are important agriculture products of the Northwest, includes burning fields of post-harvest residue such as wheat stubble. Like smoke from forest fires, smoke produced by agricultural burning can have harmful effects on public health. To protect public health, smoke management agencies of the Northwest regulate agricultural burning by deciding how much, if any, field burning can occur on a given day. They use air quality forecasting models that predict the amount and composition of smoke produced and the dispersion of the smoke and its concentration at population centers. Smoke managers have reported that the models do not work well under certain conditions, resulting in significant smoke impacts on local populations. The developers of the air quality models and smoke managers need an extensive dataset of in situ observations of agricultural smoke production and dispersion in order to improve these critical air pollution forecasting tools.

For additional information, please visit the full project page at https://www.firelab.org/project/agricultural-smoke

Smoke plume from the burning of wheat residue north of Walla Walla, Washington. The field was burned using a backfire. The light color of the smoke plume indicates low soot content (photo by Emily Lincoln).
Smoke plume from the burning of wheat residue north of Walla Walla, Washington. The field was burned using a backfire. The light color of the smoke plume indicates low soot content (photo by Emily Lincoln).

Publications

Holder, A. L. ; Gullett, B. K. ; Urbanski, Shawn P. ; Elleman, R. ; O'Neill, S. ; Tabor, D. ; Mitchell, W. ; Baker, K. R. , 2017

Other

Zhou, Luxi; Baker, Kirk R.; Napelenok, Sergey L.; Pouliot, George; Elleman, Robert; O'Neill, Susan M.; Urbanski, Shawn P.; Wong, David C. 2018. Modeling crop residue burning experiments to evaluate smoke emissions and plume transport. (link is external) Science of the Total Environment. 627: 523-533.



Research Topics: 
Fire; Prescribed fire; Smoke
National Strategic Program Areas: 
Wildland Fire and Fuels
National Priority Research Areas: 
Urban Natural Resources Stewardship
RMRS Science Program Areas: 
Fire, Fuel and Smoke
RMRS Strategic Priorities: 
Fire Sciences
Project Contact: 

Principal Investigators:
Robert Elleman - Environmental Protection Agency

Collaborators:
Washington State University
Nez Perce Tribe
USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station
USDA Beltsville Area Agricultural Research Service
Washington State Department of Ecology

Research Staff: