The following facts set the stage for investigating fire’s contribution to ambient ozone levels throughout the U.S.:
The deliverables of DEASCO3 were designed to support Federal Land Managers (FLMs) in meeting the challenges of addressing fire’s contribution to ozone in several ways: 1) technical methods routinely accepted for use in air quality planning (including SIPs) were used; 2) the range of fire’s contribution to ozone levels throughout the U.S. was quantified; and 3) technical products support FLMs to represent their interests with regard to NAA designation, “exceptional event” identification, background level definition, and fire emissions reduction strategy evaluation.
Grounding the technical products produced were a series of technical and policy hypotheses the team sought to address.
Hypothesis 1 – Mature and well-mixed smoke emissions from wildland fire do not titrate ambient ozone, but do contribute to increased downwind formation of ambient ozone and, therefore, elevate background concentrations of ozone across a large geographic area of the U.S.
Hypothesis 2 – A number of wildland fire variables assessed and managed by operational fire managers in planning and executing individual fires (e.g., fuel loading, fire size, timing and length of fires) affect formation of ozone.
Hypothesis 3 – Cumulative emissions from groupings of proximate and coincident managed wildland fires over multi-day periods cause or contribute to exceedances of the level of the new primary ozone NAAQS.
Hypothesis 4 – Improved quantitative information about fire emissions’ contribution to ambient ozone levels will allow fire managers to demonstrate the change in air quality resulting from smoke management programs (e.g., individual fire management methods, cumulative fires, emissions reduction techniques), and more effectively participate in air quality planning efforts to address ozone nonattainment areas.
Hypothesis 5 – Improved quantitative information will increase FLMs’ understanding of spatial and temporal variation in fire emissions’ contribution to elevated ambient ozone events and accommodate more effective and timely involvement of FLMs in air quality planning processes.
The project's key findings are being formalized as we develop the final report. Please check back soon!