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Wildland fire managers face increasingly steep challenges to meet air quality standards while planning prescribed fire and its inevitable smoke emissions. The goals of sound fire management practices, including fuel load reduction through prescribed burning, are often challenged by the need to minimize smoke impacts on communities. Wildfires, of course, also produce smoke, so managers must constantly weigh the benefits and risks of controlled burns and their generated emissions against potential wildfires and their generated emissions and must communicate those benefits and risks to the public. Moreover, research on and the modeling of smoke emissions from fire is a rapidly evolving field and often lies at the cutting edge of atmospheric sciences. The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) has supported research related to smoke management since its inception, but a recent analysis of past research and future needs suggests that better coordination of smoke science research could further advance the field and lead to development of better tools for managers. Smoke management and air quality have been identified as top priority areas of research for the JFSP, which has outlined a detailed path forward. The “Joint Fire Science Program Smoke Science Plan” presents a focused and integrated research agenda that is responsive to the needs of land resource managers and air quality regulators.
Image Source: Joint Fire Science Program