This webpage contains information on how to approach monitoring for smoke. It also details where to obtain current and historical measured data from monitors deployed specifically to measure smoke and monitors that measure meteorological and air quality conditions.
Smoke Monitoring Data
Interagency Real-Time Smoke Monitoring ("airsis")
This website provides real-time smoke concentration data (along with some other meteorological information) from portable smoke monitors. Historical data from past monitoring efforts are also available.
How to Monitor Smoke
The Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed and Wildland Fire (2001) contains a chapter titled "Air Quality Monitoring for Smoke" (chapter 10) that discusses how and why to monitor smoke from wildland fires.
Smoke Particulate Monitors: 2006 Update
The Missoula Technology Development Center (MTDC) completed an evaluation of 14 particulate matter monitors. The evaluation included two Met One Instruments Inc. E-BAM monitors (one with a dc pump, and the other with an ac pump), two Met One Instruments Inc. E-Samplers, three TSI Inc. DUSTTRAK monitors, four Thermo Electron Corp. DataRAM 4 monitors, and three Thermo Electron Corp. DataRAM 2000 monitors.
Additional information at:
Real-Time Smoke Particulate Sampling Fire Storm 2000
Laboratory Evaluation of Two Optical Instruments for Real-Time Particulate Monitoring of Smoke
Evaluation of Optical Instruments for Real-Time Continuous Monitoring of Smoke Particulates
EBAM Training Video (swf)
When and How to Monitor Prescribed Fire Smoke
A Screening Procedure - Monitoring particulate matter concentrations in the air (and indirectly, visibility) in sensitive communities and Class I areas before, during, and after prescribed understory burning operations.
Air Quality Monitoring Data
Current air quality conditions
The U.S. EPA, NOAA, NPS, Tribal, State, and local agencies developed the AIRNow website to provide the public with easy access to national air quality information. The Web site offers daily Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts as well as real-time AQI conditions for over 300 cities across the US, and provides links to more detailed State and local air quality Web sites. The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you.
Air Explorer is a collection of user-friendly visualization tools for air quality analysts. The tools generate maps, graphs, and data tables dynamically. Currently, the tools access ambient concentration data from EPA’s Air Quality System (AQS). The criteria pollutant data were last updated on April 17, 2008. PM2.5 speciation data were last updated on November 2, 2006.
The AirData website gives access to yearly summaries of United States air pollution data, taken from EPA's air pollution databases. The data include all fifty states plus District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. AirData has information about where air pollution comes from (emissions) and how much pollution is in the air outside our homes and work places (monitoring).
The Visibility Information Exchange Web System (VIEWS)
VIEWS is an online system of tools and resources designed to provide easy access to a wide variety of air quality data. The VIEWS team maintains a comprehensive database of air quality data from over two dozen monitoring networks and is constantly acquiring new data sets and adding new networks.
The Interagency Monitoring of PROtected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) Program
This program implemented an extensive long term monitoring program to establish current visibility conditions, track changes in visibility and determine causal mechanisms for visibility impairment in the National Parks and Wilderness Areas. The purpose of this website is to provide access to the IMPROVE monitoring data resources and educational material on the science of visibility and regulations.
This query tool allows the user, to obtain air quality data (including both official and preliminary data) by selecting a time frame, an area of the state, and the type of report.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) measures air pollutant levels by operating a network of monitoring and sampling equipment at sites throughout the State of Oregon. In particular they operate the Forest Health Network in cooperation with the USFS and BLM in areas in SW and NE Oregon that may be impacted by smoke from fire activities on Federal lands.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) operates a network of Portable Particulate Monitors across Arizona. These monitors record hourly average concentrations of particulates and the purpose of this web page is to provide near real-time data to the public.
The Washington State air quality monitoring system provides information about current air quality color-coded by air quality index. It also links with the five Forest Service smoke monitors operating in the Wenatchee and Okanogan National Forests. Data are updated hourly and can be downloaded.
Meteorological Monitoring Data
Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS)
There are nearly 2,200 interagency Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) strategically located throughout the United States. These stations monitor the weather and provide weather data that assists land management agencies with a variety of projects such as monitoring air quality, rating fire danger, and providing information for research applications.
Mesowest provides access to meteorological data nationally from the National Weather Service (NWS), Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS), and SNOwpack TELemetry (SNOTEL) networks.
National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is a large and diverse environmental data center, containing more than 90 percent of the data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Data archives at NCDC include meteorological/climatologic information, environmental satellite data, and NEXt generation RADar (NEXRAD) weather radar data.
The Oklahoma Mesonet is a network of environmental monitoring stations that consists of over 110 automated stations covering Oklahoma. There is at least one Mesonet station in each of Oklahoma's 77 counties. The Mesonet stations measure temperature, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall, dew point and humidity, soil temperature and moisture, atmospheric pressure and solar radiation.
California - Meteorological Data
Similar to the air quality data query tool, this tool allows the user to select real-time or historical meteorological data for display. The user has a choice of parameter, time period, area of the State, and report format.
Other Monitoring Data Links
Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Applications (CEFA)
This site provides products and information related to climate, weather, fire and natural resources. The program for Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Applications (CEFA) is a partnership between the Desert Research Institute and federal land management agencies, and chartered with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) Fire Environment Committee.
SNOwpack TELemetry (SNOTEL)
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) installs, operates, and maintains an extensive, automated system (SNOwpack TELemetry or SNOTEL) designed to collect snowpack and related climatic data in the Western United States and Alaska. With 50-80 percent of the water supply in the West arriving in the form of snow, data on snow pack provide critical information to decision makers and water managers throughout the West. SNOTEL provides a reliable and cost effective means of collecting snowpack and other meteorological data needed to produce water supply forecasts and support the resource management activities of NRCS and others.
Drought Monitor: Current Conditions
No single definition of drought works for all circumstances, so people rely on drought indices to detect and measure droughts. But no single index works under all circumstances either, thus there is the Drought Monitor, a synthesis of multiple indices and impacts, designed to represent a consensus of federal and academic scientists. The product is continually refined over time as new ways are found to make it better reflect the needs of decision-makers and others who use the information.
NWCG Safety and Health Committee
The purpose of this team is to improve firefighter health, safety, and effectiveness through emphasis on excellence in workforce development, leadership, and the establishment of standards. Through data collection and analysis the team will validate and prioritize safety issues for resolution and communication to the field and management. They are doing a study of the effects of smoke on wildland firefighters.