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Impacts of wildfire emissions on Salt Lake City

January, 2014

Fine particulate matter, also called PM2.5, is an air pollutant with significant public health impacts that is regulated under the federal Clean Air Act; PM2.5 is also the primary air pollutant of concern across much of the western United States. PM2.5 pollution has many sources: industrial and agricultural activities, power generation, transportation, and construction. In addition to these anthropogenic sources, wildfires are also a major source of PM2.5. In contrast to anthropogenic sources, pollution from wildfires is sporadic, intense, and may impact urban areas hundreds to thousands of kilometers downwind. State agencies are tasked with developing emission control strategies to minimize public exposure to PM2.5 and maintain compliance with Federal air quality standards. The development of effective and efficient emission controls for anthropogenic sources requires quantitative knowledge of the contribution of wildfires to air pollution in population centers.

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The contribution from each of the source regions to wildfire-derived CO enhancements at SLC for the (a) 2007 and (b) 2012 western U.S. wildfire seasons.
Image: source regions to wildfire-derived CO enhancements at SLC


Mallia, D. V. ; Lin, J. C. ; Urbanski, Shawn P. ; Ehleringer, J. ; Nehrkorn, T. , 2015

Project Contact: 

Principal Investigators:
Derek V. Mallia - NOAA
John C. Lin - NOAA

Research Staff:
Rachel Corley - Missoula Fire Lab Research Staff