The efficacy of news releases, news reports, and public nuisance complaints for determining smoke impacts to air quality from wildland fire
Understanding air quality impacts caused by smoke from wildland fire is a major concern in the western USA. The objectives of this paper were to examine news releases, news reports, and public nuisance complaints about smoke impacts caused by forest fires to determine if these different media sources were accurate indicators of wildland fire impacts to daily air quality from 2008 to 2013. Our findings suggest that media and complaints are poorly correlated to smoke impacts to air quality and should not be used as a proxy to establish days where air quality is impacted by smoke from forest fires. With the exception of 2008, media sources failed in accurately capturing ground level smoke impacts. Media sources were found to predict a smoke impact to air quality 32% of the time, while nuisance complaints predicted 15%. Successful smoke management and wildland fire policy should include a more consistently accurate message of smoke impacts. The majority of the smoke observed in Fresno originated from northern California forest fires and on a few days from forests south of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). Urban cities in the SJV should be concern with land management strategies outside their air basin jurisdiction.
KeywordsMedia News releases Newspapers Complaints Smoke impacts Smoke management
We thank Dr. Haiganoush Preisler, statistical scientist, of the US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station for providing information on the statistical model and for reviewing this manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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