International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Smoke measurements during Gestosa-2002 experimental field fires

A. I. Miranda A B , J. Ferreira A , J. Valente A , P. Santos A , J. H. Amorim A and C. Borrego A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal.

B Corresponding author. Telephone: + 351 234 370200; fax: +351 234 429290; email: aicm@dao.ua.pt

International Journal of Wildland Fire 14(1) 107-116 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF04069
Submitted: 20 December 2004  Accepted: 23 December 2004   Published: 7 March 2005

Abstract

Currently, there is a growing awareness that smoke produced during forest fires can expose individuals and populations to hazardous concentrations of air pollutants. Aiming to contribute to a better understanding of the air pollution phenomenon associated with forest fires, this paper presents and analyses the atmospheric emissions and air quality concentration measurements performed in the 2002 fire experiments at Gestosa, Central Portugal. Two vehicles were equipped with a meteorological station and air quality analysers that were turned on continuously to acquire concentrations of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Nitrogen and sulfur dioxides were measured using a grid of fixed passive samplers. Also, firefighters and research-team members used passive samplers during the experiments in order to estimate the human exposure to these pollutants. Measurements of volatile organic compound emissions, using Tedlar bags, were carried out. Results were analysed taking into account not only the concentration values but also the variables involved, such as the combustion phase and the meteorology, and identifying possible relationships between them. Despite the small size of the burning plots when compared to wildfires, the measured levels of pollutants were however considerable, indicating the effect of these experiments on the local air quality and stressing the serious levels of air pollution that can be expected during wildfires.

Additional keywords: air quality; forest fire emissions.


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