Measures to Reduce Air Quality Impacts of Prescribed Burning
While increasing prescribed fire activities may contribute to local air quality impacts, prescribed burning can be conducted in ways that minimize harmful smoke exposure potential. Expanded prescribed burning activities should be coupled with additional policies and best practices to mitigate potential harmful smoke exposure.
Prescribed burns are implemented under planned, predictable circumstances. To reduce harmful exposure from smoke, prescribed burns should be conducted when meteorological conditions are favorable and wind patterns allow smoke to move away from sensitive areas (e.g., populated areas, hospitals, schools, roadways).
Numerous strategies can be implemented to reduce public health impacts associated with wildfire smoke exposure, many of which also mitigate smoke exposure from prescribed burn activities.
Strategies to reduce public health impacts associated with wildfire smoke exposure
- Air quality surveillance coupled with public outreach and public notification systems;
- Indoor air filtration and clean air spaces;
- Provision and use of respiratory protective equipment;
- Additional emergency planning and response, including protections for vulnerable populations.