Estimates of wildland fire emissions
Wildland fire missions can significantly affect regional and global air quality, radiation, climate, and the carbon cycle. A fundamental and yet challenging prerequisite to understanding the environmental effects is to accurately estimate fire emissions. This chapter describes and analyzes fire emission calculations. Various techniques (field measurements, empirical relations, modeling, and remote sensing) to obtain fuel and fire properties are first reviewed. A calculation of fire emissions across the continental U.S. is then illustrated. In this calculation, an approach recently developed based on high-resolution fuel types from satellite remote sensing is used for fuel loading factors. The burning information is obtained from a historical fire dataset collected by multiple U.S. governmental agencies. The U.S. fire emissions show large spatial and temporal variability. Finally, uncertainties in fire emission estimates are examined by comparing with another method using the traditional AP-42 Table approach for fuel loading. Emissions with the satellite remote sensing approach are mostly reduced in the western U.S., but increased in the eastern coastal regions. A perspective on future fire emission research is given.