Grant J. Williamson, Christopher Lucani
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fuel Treatments & Effects
Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Smoke & Air Quality
Smoke Emissions
Smoke Emissions and Inventory

NRFSN number: 20990
FRAMES RCS number: 60936
Record updated: April 8, 2020

Fine particulate matter emissions (PM2.5) from landscape biomass fires, both prescribed and wild, pose a significant public health risk, with smoke exposure seasonally impacting human populations through both highly concentrated local plumes, and more dispersed regional haze. A range of technologies now exist for mapping and modeling atmospheric particulate concentration, including low-cost mobile monitors, dispersion and chemical transport modeling, multi-spectral earth observation satellites, weather radar, as well as publicly available real-time data feeds from agencies providing information about fire activity on the ground. Ubiquitous smart phone availability also allows instant public reporting of both health symptoms and smoke exposure. We describe a web-based visual display interface, Air Quality Visualization (AQVx), developed to allow the overlaying, synchronization and comparison of a range of maps and data layers, in order to both assess the potential public health impact of landscape fire smoke plumes, and the accuracy of dispersion models. The system was trialed in the state of Victoria, in south-eastern Australia, within the domain of the AQFx chemical transport model, where large-scale annual prescribed burning operations (~11,000 km2 yr) are carried out, and where extreme wildfires frequently occur during the summer months. AQVx, coupled with the ARSmoke smart phone application, allowed managers to rapidly validate modeled smoke transport against satellite imagery, and identify potential exposure risks to populated areas.


Williamson, Grant J.; Lucani, Christopher. 2020. AQVx - an interactive visual display system for air pollution and public health. Frontiers in Public Health 8:85.

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