Recent large wildfires in the USA have exposed millions of people to smoke, with major implications for health and other social and economic values. Prescribed burning for ecosystem health purposes and hazardous fuel reduction also adds smoke to the atmosphere, in some cases affecting adjacent communities. However, we currently lack an appropriate assessment framework that looks past the planned versus unplanned nature of a fire and assesses the environmental conditions under which particular fires burn, their socio-ecological settings, and implications for smoke production and management. A strong scientific foundation is needed to address wildland fire smoke challenges, especially given that degraded air quality and smoke exposure will likely increase in extent and severity as the climate gets warmer. It will be especially important to provide timely and accurate smoke information to help communities mitigate potential smoke impacts from ongoing wildfires, as well as from planned prescribed fires. This assessment focuses on primary physical, chemical, biological, and social considerations by documenting our current understanding of smoke science and how the research community can collaborate with resource managers and regulators to advance smoke science over the next decade.
Jaffe, Daniel A.; Peterson, David L.; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Hall, John A.; Brown, Timothy J. 2022. Assessing the State of Smoke Science. In: Peterson, David L.; McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Patel-Weynand, Toral, eds. 2022. Wildland Fire Smoke in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG. 1-10. Chapter 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-87045-4_1.