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Grassland and forest understorey biomass emissions from prescribed fires in the south-eastern United States – RxCADRE 2012

Strand, Tara, Gullett, Brian, Urbanski, Shawn, O’Neill, Susan, Potter, Brian, Aurell, Johanna, Holder, Amara, Larkin, Narasimhan, Moore, Mark, Rorig, Miriam
The International journal of wildland fire 2016 v.25 no.1 pp. 102-113
biomass, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, combustion, data collection, emissions factor, forest fires, forests, fuels, fuels (fire ecology), grasses, grasslands, greenhouse gas emissions, methane, optical properties, particle size distribution, particulates, prescribed burning, soot, understory, Southeastern United States
Smoke measurements were made during grass and forest understorey prescribed fires as part of a comprehensive programme to understand fire and smoke behaviour. Instruments deployed on the ground, airplane and tethered aerostat platforms characterised the smoke plumes through measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4) and particulate matter (PM), and measurements of optical properties. Distinctions were observed in aerial and ground-based measurements, with aerial measurements exhibiting smaller particle size distributions and PM emission factors, likely due to particle settling. Black carbon emission factors were similar for both burns and were highest during the initial flaming phase. On average, the particles from the forest fire were less light absorbing than those from the grass fires due to the longer duration of smouldering combustion in the forest biomass. CO and CH4 emission factors were over twice as high for the forest burn than for the grass burn, corresponding with a lower modified combustion efficiency and greater smouldering combustion. This dataset reveals the evolution of smoke emissions from two different commonly burned fuel types and demonstrates the complexity of emission factors.