Chemical speciation of PM2.5 collected during prescribed fires of the coconino national forest near Flagstaff, Arizona
The use of prescribed fire is expected to increase in an effort to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, particularly at urban/forest interfaces. Fire is a well-known source of particulate matter (PM) with particle sizes <2.5 um (PM2.5), small diameter PM known to affect climate, visibility, and human health. In this work, PM2.5 was collected during seven first-entry burns (flaming and smoldering stages) and one maintenance burn of the Coconino National Forest. Samples were analyzed for organic and elemental carbon, cations (sodium, potassium [K+], and ammonium [NH4-]), anions (nitrate [NO3-] and sulfate), and 48 elements (with atomic weights between sodium and lead). The PM2.5 contained high organic carbon levels (typically >90% by mass), commonly observed ions (K+, NH4-, and NO3-) and elements (K+, chlorine, sulfur, and silicon), as well as titanium and chromium. Flaming produced higher K+ and NH4- levels than smoldering, and the elemental signature was more complex (20 versus 7 elements). Average organic carbon x 1.4 mass fractions (+- standard deviation) were lower during flaming (92 +- 14%) than during smoldering (124 +- 24%). The maintenance (grassland) burn produced lower particle concentrations, lower NH4- and NO3- levels, and higher K and chlorine levels than did the firstentry fires.
Peterson, M., Gutknecht, W., Perkins, R., Jayanty, R., & Hardison, E. (2000). Chemical speciation of PM2.5 collected during prescribed fires of the coconino national forest near Flagstaff, Arizona. Environmental Manager, 17-22.