Research Topic

Understanding and Communicating Wildland Fire Smoke Risk

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About this Research Topic

Wildland fires, including prescribed fires and wildfires, are an important source of air pollution to the atmosphere. Wildland fire smoke is a mixture of gases and aerosols, and can cause serious air pollution impacts to locations nearby and up to hundreds of miles in distance. A growing number of people ...

Wildland fires, including prescribed fires and wildfires, are an important source of air pollution to the atmosphere. Wildland fire smoke is a mixture of gases and aerosols, and can cause serious air pollution impacts to locations nearby and up to hundreds of miles in distance. A growing number of people reside in areas prone to wildfires - the wildland-urban interface (WUI) - which increases the likelihood of ignited structural fires and hazardous air pollution emissions.

Understanding the formation, transport, and health impact of wildland fire smoke is a complex task. Another major challenge is the design of effective strategies to reduce wildland fire smoke impacts to the public, through methods to understanding populations particularly sensitive to smoke, exposure reduction, and longer-term land management strategies. Emerging methods to characterize air quality - including miniaturized air quality sensors, fusion of multiple data types (e.g., satellite remote sensing data, models), and interaction with the public through apps - is revolutionizing how wildland fire smoke is detected and communicated. This complex subject, ranging from fundamental science of wildfire smoke formation to emerging sensor technologies, requires an interdisciplinary body of research, including social sciences, to address important knowledge gaps.

This Research Topic welcomes manuscripts that share new research insights furthering our understanding of wildland fire smoke and public health. Submissions are welcome that provide new insights regarding the quantification of wildland fire smoke exposure and impacts (e.g., sensors, satellite data, models, data fusion) at various distances from a fire, improve understanding of health effects related to short-term versus repeated exposure to wildland fire smoke, and explore new approaches to reduce exposure of sensitive populations and/or the general public to wildland fire air pollutant emissions.


Keywords: wildfire, sensors, smoke, prescribed fire, air pollution


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