Data Sources: EPA’s AirNow, MODIS Satellite Hazard Mapping, NOAA, InciWeb, and Google, inc. Note: Wildfire detections by satellite do not always represent an actual fire and are not always ground truthed. Smoke plumes are those detected by satellite and may have greater spatial extent and settle in valleys in low concentrations.
Through intentional and careful planning, fires are reintroduced to the landscape under conditions that limit the impacts of smoke compared to unplanned and uncontrolled conditions during a wildfire. Using prescribed fire helps reduce fuels on the landscape and mitigates the risk of large wildfires and the greater smoke impacts that accompany those events.
The smoke impacts of prescribed fires are considered throughout the planning and execution process, from developing burn plans to ignition, and then through active burn management. A plan is created that defines which communities will be impacted and identifies strict weather conditions under which a burn must be carried out to minimize impact. Fire managers must operate under a permit and closely monitor conditions to determine the optimal time to burn. During prescribed burns, fire managers aim to minimize impacts from smoke by working to carefully balance both the timing and intensity of smoke on the landscape.
Prescribed Fire will have smoke impacts despite careful planning and management.