Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Who’s Afraid of Wildfires

Posted by feww on June 9, 2011

Smoke from wildfires burning in the US can severely impact human health and ecosystems

Wildfire smoke consists of a nasty mixture of air pollutants including  carbon monoxide (CO),  nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10). 

Smoke composition depends on the fuel type and moisture content, the fire temperature, wind conditions and other factors. Different types of wood and vegetation produce different compounds when burned because they have varying amounts cellulose, lignin, tannins and other polyphenols, fats, resins, waxes, oils, starches and to a lesser extent the carcinogen benzene.

Particulate matter is the major pollutant of concern because they can affect the lungs and heart. Particle pollution includes PM10 (diameters of 2.5 to 10 µm, or micrometers)  and PM2.5 (diameters of 2.5 µm or smaller).
NOTE:  The diameter of human hair varies from 20 to 180 µm.

About 40 million people in the US suffer from chronic lung diseases including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These patients can easily be affected by lower levels of pollutants that normally do not harm healthier people.

Wildfires: Future Trend

FIRE-EARTH would only assign a certain probability to a catastrophic volcanic explosion at, say, Yellowstone during the next 5 years (subject of a future discussion), but can forecast with near certainty large increases in the size and intensity of wildfires throughout the Americas, while the ailing forests last.

Air Quality Index (Combine Ozone and PM2.5) – AirNow

Historically, the AQI value of 100 is set at the level of the short-term standard for a pollutant and the AQI value of 50 at the level of the annual standard, if there is one, or at one-half the level of the short-term standard if there is not. The upper bound index value of 500 corresponds to the Significant Harm Level (SHL), established in section 51.16 of the CFR under the Prevention of Air Pollution Emergency Episodes program. The SHL is set at a level that represents imminent and substantial endangerment to public health. Source: EPA- Revising the Air Quality Index and Setting a Significant Harm Level for PM2.5 – February 12, 2007; URL Click to enlarge

Air Quality Index Hourly Ozone 

Smoke Detection/Forecasts

More information about wildfires and smoke hazards available at

National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter Final Rule (October 17, 2006):
Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter: OAQPS Staff Paper (Dec 05):
Particle Pollution and Your Health:
Air Quality Index Reporting Proposed Rule (December 9, 1998):
Air Quality Index Reporting Final Rule (August 4, 1999):

Environmental Protection Agency

Related Links

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