Smoke emissions sensing and sampling by unmanned aircraft systems: Development and testing

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Poor air quality arising from prescribed and wildfire smoke emissions poses threats to human health and therefore must be taken into account for the planning and implementation of prescribed burns for reducing contemporary fuel loading and other management goals. To better understand how smoke properties vary as a function of fuel beds and environmental conditions, we developed and tested a compact portable instrument package that integrates direct air sampling with air quality and meteorology sensing, suitable for in situ data collection within burn units and as a payload on multi-rotor small unmanned aircraft systems (sUASs). This study presents and discusses design specifications for the system and preliminary data collected in controlled burns at Tall Timbers Research Station, FL, USA and Sycan Marsh Preserve, OR, USA.

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