Sub-Canopy Smoke Dispersion: Measurements Near and In a Prescribed Fire-Source to Improve Fire and Smoke Modelling Tools

Presentation at Research Forum of the 2012 Bushfire CRC and AFAC Annual Conference.

During North-American winters 2010 and 2011 a suite of observation data were collected to understand fire characteristics, fire-emissions, and near-field smoke dispersion. The data were collected during prescribed fires located beneath a long-leaf pine forest (Pinus palustris) at The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) Calloway Forest/Sandhills Preserve in North Carolina U.S.A. Data were collected near and inside the fire source before, during and after the prescribed fire allowing for complete fire-event analyses. The project was designed to collect observation data at each modelling step within the BlueSky Smoke Modeling Framework (BlueSky Framework). Fire behaviour, fuel loadings and moisture, consumption, emissions, plume rise, and sub-canopy dispersion of smoke were observed. Wind and temperature sensors located on towers within the fire and were used to assess the flaming front (and smouldering) turbulence and thermodynamics. Fire spread was measured with in-fire filming. Emissions and plume transport of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, other trace gases, and fine particulate matter (particles ≤ 2.5 microns, PM2.5) were measured near and within the fire. These data were used to evaluate the BlueSky Framework modelled smoke plume footprint and PM2.5 surface concentrations, which were produced in forecast mode during the potential burn window (30 days). The objective of this research was to gather the necessary data required to analyse, modify, or develop a pathway within the BlueSky Framework suitable for low-intensity/smouldering fires often found during sub-canopy prescribed burning.