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Wildfire smoke and health

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Meteorologist and Public Information Officer Chris Smallcomb, from the National Weather Service – Reno office, will discuss smoke forecasting and models used to predict smoke. Air Quality Specialist Brendan Schnieder, with the Washoe County Health District’s Air Quality Management Division, will discuss wildfire smoke and health impacts.

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Nevada Wildfire Awareness Campaign: Webinar Series

Campaign webpage.

Wildfire evacuation preparedness, May 13, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • This webinar is presented with the University’s Osher Life Learning Institute, a member-driven organization offering short-term educational experiences for older adults in northern Nevada. Deputy Emergency Manager Jason Danen, with the Carson City Fire Department, will speak about emergency notification systems such as Code Red and other forms of communication to the public during a wildfire. In addition, Skyland Fire Adapted Communities’ Leader and Douglas County Community Emergency Response Team Member Ann Grant will discuss items to prepare for an evacuation go bag and a stay box.

Perspectives of a wildland fire investigator, May 18, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist/Fire Trespass Coordinator Bradley Milam, with the Bureau of Land Management, will share wildfire investigation experiences. Forest Fire Prevention Officer Jennifer Diamond, with the U.S. Forest Service – Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, will share some fire prevention tips.

The timeline of climate, weather and fire, June 10, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Climatology Research Professor Tim Brown, also director of the Western Regional Climate Center, will discuss how weather and climate influence fire in Nevada.

Protect, prevent and prepare with NV energy, June 24, 12–1:30 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Natural Disaster Protection Plan Director James Saavdra and Director of Delivery Operations Zeina Randall, both with NV Energy, will discuss how NV Energy is working with customers and partners using innovative strategies to reduce the risk of wildfire to Nevadans.

Wildfire smoke and health, July 8, 11:30– 1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Meteorologist and Public Information Officer Chris Smallcomb, from the National Weather Service – Reno office, will discuss smoke forecasting and models used to predict smoke. Air Quality Specialist Brendan Schnieder, with the Washoe County Health District’s Air Quality Management Division, will discuss wildfire smoke and health impacts.

Home hardening Q&A, Aug. 12, 11:30– 1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Living With Fire will host a question-and-answer workshop with Steve Quarles, who is both University of California Cooperative Extension Advisor Emeritus and the retired Chief Scientist for Wildfire and Durability, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety Research Center. The session will focus on “home hardening,” defined as building or retrofitting homes to withstand wildfire. Watch a previous presentation on this topic online.

Reseeding and flood after wildfire, Sept. 9, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Forester Anna Higgins with the Nevada Division of Forestry, Ecologist Mark Freese with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and Project Manager Danae Olson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will discuss reseeding landscapes, and preparing for potential flood after wildfire.

Prescribed fire in Tahoe and Nevada, Oct. 14, 11:30–1 PDT, Webinar registration

  • Fuels Management Officer Keegan Schafer with Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and Forest Fuels and Vegetation Program Manager Duncan Leao with the U.S. Forest Service – Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest will discuss prescribed fire and projects in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Nevada.
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3D fuel characterization for modeling of wildland fire behavior and smoke

Webinar recording.

Rapid advancements in wildland fire modeling are promoting innovations in how we characterize and map wildland fuels. Before these models can be widely used, more research on fuel characterization and mapping methods is needed to support3D model inputs. The 3D Fuels Project is characterizing surface and canopy fuels on pine-dominated sites in the southeastern and western United States and western grasslands that represent fuels commonly characterized for prescribed burning. Through this project, researchers are developing a library of tools and datasets to leverage multi-scale estimates of 3D fuel structure and consumption that can be used directly within models of fire behavior and smoke production.

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Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed Fire

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The NWCG Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed Fire contains information on prescribed fire smoke management techniques, air quality regulations, smoke monitoring, modeling, communication, public perception of prescribed fire and smoke, climate change, practical meteorological approaches, and smoke tools. The primary focus of this document is to serve as the textbook in support of NWCG’s RX-410, Smoke Management Techniques course which is required for the position of Prescribed Fire Burn Boss Type 2 (RXB2). The Guide is useful to all who use prescribed fire, from private land owners to federal land managers, with practical tools, and underlying science. Many chapters are helpful for addressing air quality impacts from wildfires. It is intended to assist those who are following the guidance of the NWCG’s Interagency Prescribed Fire Planning and Implementation Procedures Guide, PMS 484,  in planning for, and addressing, smoke when conducting prescribed fires.

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Wildfire smoke: A guide for public health officials

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This document, originally developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), is designed to help local public health officials prepare for smoke events, to take measures to protect the public when smoke is present, and communicate with the public about wildfire smoke and health.

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Wildfire smoke cools summer river and stream water temperatures

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This study analyzed data on summer wildfire smoke, solar radiation, air temperatures, precipitation, river discharge, and water temperatures in the lower Klamath River Basin in Northern California. Previous studies have focused on the effect of combustion heat on water temperatures during fires and the effect of riparian vegetation losses on postfire water temperatures, but we know of no studies of the effects of wildfire smoke on river or stream water temperatures. Smoke had a cooling effect on water temperatures at all 12 river and stream locations analyzed. On average, smoke cooled daily maximum and mean water temperatures by 1.32 °C and 0.74 °C per 1.0 AOT, respectively. This smoke-induced cooling has the potential to benefit cold-water adapted species, particularly because wildfires are more likely to occur during the warmest and driest years and seasons.

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Fire behavior and smoke modelling: Needs for next-generation forecasting

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This review paper presents simulations and experiments of hypothetical prescribed burns with a suite of selected fire behavior and smoke models and identifies major issues for model improvement and the most critical observational needs. The results are used to understand the new and improved capability required for the next-generation SRF systems and to support the design of the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE) and other field campaigns. The next-generation SRF systems should have more coupling of fire, smoke and atmospheric processes. The development of the coupling capability requires comprehensive and spatially and temporally integrated measurements across the various disciplines to characterize flame and energy structure (e.g. individual cells, vertical heat profile and the height of well-mixing flaming gases), smoke structure (vertical distributions and multiple subplumes), ambient air processes (smoke eddy, entrainment and radiative effects of smoke aerosols) and fire emissions (for different fuel types and combustion conditions from flaming to residual smouldering), as well as night-time processes (smoke drainage and super-fog formation).

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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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Estimating fire smoke related health burden and novel tools to manage impacts on urban populations

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This study comprehensively assessed the health risks posed by smoke exposure, and constructed new tools to estimate and forecast smoke concentration levels and associated health effects. We accomplished these goals with four specific aims. In Aim 1, we compared the chemical composition of fine PM emanating from fire smoke with typical urban PM in the US. In Aim 2, we conducted a systematic review and meta analysis of the risk estimates to evaluate the risks of smoke exposure for all relevant health outcomes. In Aim 4 we combined model-based predicted smoke exposure with health and economic assessment tools to provide real-time forecasts of health risk over space and time. In this report, we describe the results of this work and their impact on the field.

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Comparing smoke exposure from wildfires and Rx fires

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This study examines the differences in community level exposures to smoke from both wildfire and prescribed fire.

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