Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub

    Description

    Prescribed fires in forest ecosystems can negatively impact human health and safety by transporting smoke downwind into nearby communities. Smoke transport to communities is known to occur around Bend, Oregon, United States of America (USA), where burning at the wildland–urban interface in the Deschutes National Forest resulted in smoke intrusions into populated areas. The number of suitable days for prescribed fires is limited due to the necessity for moderate weather conditions, as well as wind directions that do not carry smoke into Bend. To better understand the conditions leading to these intrusions and to assess predictions of smoke dispersion from prescribed fires, we collected data from an array of weather and particulate monitors over the autumn of 2014 and spring of 2015 and historical weather data from nearby remote automated weather stations (RAWS). We characterized the observed winds to compare with meteorological and smoke dispersion models using the BlueSky smoke modeling framework. The results from this study indicated that 1–6 days per month in the spring and 2–4 days per month in the fall met the general meteorological prescription parameters for conducting prescribed fires in the National Forest. Of those, 13% of days in the spring and 5% of days in the fall had “ideal” wind patterns, when north winds occurred during the day and south winds did not occur at night. The analysis of smoke intrusions demonstrated that dispersion modeling can be useful for anticipating the timing and location of smoke impacts, but substantial errors in wind speed and direction of the meteorological models can lead to mischaracterizations of intrusion events. Additionally, for the intrusion event modeled using a higher-resolution 1-km meteorological and dispersion model, we found improved predictions of both the timing and location of smoke delivery to Bend compared with the 4-km meteorological model. The 1-km-resolution model prediction fell within 1 h of the observed event, although with underpredicted concentrations, and demonstrated promise for high-resolution modeling in areas of complex terrain.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Miller, Colton; O’Neill, Susan; Rorig, Miriam; Alvarado, Ernesto. 2019. Air-quality challenges of prescribed fire in the complex terrain and wildland urban interface surrounding Bend, Oregon. Atmosphere. 10(9): 515-. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090515.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Prescribed fire, particle matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), smoke, dispersion modeling, RAWS.

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/59107