Colorado State University researchers finish extensive fire tests at NIST lab

July 3, 2024

CSU researchers test fire emissions at NIST

Researchers from Colorado State University have concluded extensive fire tests at the National Fire Research Laboratory (NFRL), part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

As reported by the Climate Program Office, these tests are part of a larger initiative to understand how structural fires at the wildland urban interface (WUI) affect air pollution.

The tests focused on measuring gas and particle emissions from burning structural materials under realistic conditions.

The data collected includes information on over 150 different pollutants.

This data will contribute to a comprehensive emission factor database and an emissions inventory for WUI-related structural fires in the United States.

Funding and goals of the research

The NOAA’s Climate Program Office’s Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle, and Climate (AC4) Program funds this project.

The research aligns with AC4’s mission to enhance the understanding of wildfire smoke and its impacts on air quality and atmospheric chemistry.

By building on the AC4’s mission, the researchers aim to improve air quality management and policy development.

The results of these tests will provide crucial data for better understanding the environmental impact of WUI fires and aid in developing strategies to mitigate their effects on air quality.

Importance of studying WUI-related structural fires

Wildland urban interface (WUI) fires pose a unique challenge due to their proximity to both natural and developed areas.

Understanding the emissions from these fires is critical for several reasons, including public health, environmental protection, and climate science.

The emissions inventory and emission factor database developed from this research will serve as valuable tools for policymakers and scientists.

They will provide detailed information on the types and quantities of pollutants released during WUI fires, helping to inform regulations and response strategies.

Broader implications for air quality management

This research has broader implications for air quality management beyond WUI fires.

The findings can be applied to other types of structural fires and wildfire events, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of fire emissions.

The data will also aid in improving atmospheric models, which are essential for predicting air quality and climate impacts.

This research underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in addressing complex environmental challenges.

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