Meet the Met One E-Sampler portable Nephelometer
Short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM) is the principal public health concern from exposure to wildfire smoke. Airborne smoke particulates, especially particulates smaller than 2.5 micrometers (µm) in diameter (PM2.5), pose potential safety and health consequences that can negatively affect the nearby communities. Deployment of air monitors during wildland fires is important to identify the impact, assess the public’s level of risk, and to determine adverse health effects to the local communities. Through the use of the E-Sampler we are able to display particulate concentration levels in affected areas, then we can use that data so that we can broadcast health advisories, and promote recommendations to decrease public exposure.
The E-Sampler system offers real-time data reporting capability and links to the EPA’s AirNow website to provide air quality information.
The E-Sampler is a type of nephelometer (an instrument for measuring concentration of suspended particulates) automatically measures and records real-time airborne PM10, PM2.5, or TSP particulate concentration levels using the principle of forward laser light scatter. In addition, the E-Sampler has a built-in 47 mm filter sampler which can optionally be used to collect the particulate for subsequent gravimetric mass or laboratory evaluation. The E-Sampler combines the excellent real-time response of a nephelometer with the accuracy and traceability of a low flow manual gravimetric sampler.
Laser Light Scatter System
Sample air is drawn into the E-Sampler and through the laser optical module, where the particulate in the sample air stream scatters the laser light through reflective and refractive properties. This scattered light is collected onto a photodiode detector at a near-forward angle, and the resulting electronic signal is processed to determine a continuous, real-time measurement of airborne particulate mass concentrations.
The AirNow Web site provides the public with easy access to national air quality information and offers daily Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts as well as real-time AQI conditions for over 300 cities across the US, and also provides links to more detailed State and local air quality Web sites.
Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program: https://www.wildlandfiresmoke.net/
AIRNOW website: https://airnow.gov/
Pinal Fire Smoke Dispersion taken from Icehouse rd at 12:30pm
Fire activity on the Pinal Fire picked up with forecasted gusty winds, the column was visible from all sides around Globe
Smoke Dispersion photo taken from the city of Globe Arizona at 1:30pm
On May 15-18, 2017, Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Pacific Northwest Research Station AirFire Team will host a 4-day training class in Boise to train a select group of individuals on the current state of wildland fire air quality tools and how to fill the role of Air Resource Advisor during a wildland fire incident.
A team of ARA’s and the Program Leader will assess all candidates for the class.
Deadline for class applications is 3/24/2017
View Full Announcement
The High Resoultion, Rapid Refresh model, a rapid update, high res weather model has added an experimental smoke module. Using satellite data to estimate the intensity of various fires, it then makes predictions of both near-surface smoke as well as the column smoke, incorporating smoke aloft.
This loop from the 1200 UTC run on September 28, 2016 captures the relative impact of three fires in the area, with a particularly large contribution coming from the Loma Fire south of San Jose.
How to Find Out What Your Air Quality Is Right Now
Every morning, the Soberanes Fire team puts out an Air Quality forecast for the day. We also forecast when the best time of day will be. We do this to help you prepare for and plan your day around potential smoke impacts, especially for people who are more likely to feel the effects of smoke exposure. You can find these forecasts at the CA Smoke Blog, which you can follow on twitter. We also post these on fire information boards throughout the area. We issue forecasts in Spanish as well. Help us get the word out and share these forecasts with your friends, family, and community.
Thanks to the Monterey Bay Air Resources District, we’ve got 19 monitoring stations placed in communities in the area. If you have internet access, here’s how you can check what the air quality is in your community, anytime day or night.
Go to the AirNow website for Current Fire Conditions. A map like the one below will open up.
Click on the grey bar on the right-hand side of the screen
Turn on all the layers. Click the bar again to return to the full map. The colored circles or triangles are the air quality monitors, the grey blobs represent models of where the smoke is going. The flames show where fires are.
Find the monitor (the colored triangle or circle) closest to you and refer to the Air Quality Index chart below to determine what your air quality is currently like by matching the color of the monitor to the Air Quality Index (“AQI”). The Air Quality Index is designed to be applied to conditions averaged over an entire day. That’s why you might see a couple spikes of high air pollution levels on the monitor when you check but a lower level reflected in the air quality forecast.
If air quality is bothering you, check out ways to reduce your exposure.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 3 pm Wednesday through 9 pm Thursday for the Soberanes Fire. The warning has been issued due to strong, west to northwest winds Wednesday afternoon associated with a dry cold front. Very strong NW winds will develop Wednesday night after the front moves across the area with gusts of 30 to 40 mph expected along the ridges. Humidity will remain dry in the 20-30% range along the upper ridges. The likely increase in fire activity can increase smoke production and impacts, particularly in communities to the east and south. Check your air quality forecast daily for updates at the CA Smoke Blog, and if smoke becomes too heavy reduce your outdoor activity.
Soberanes Smoke Plume Over Salinas Valley
San Jose State University’s Fire Weather Lab is doing research on the convective smoke column produced by the Pioneer Fire. A description of their research can be found on the Wildfire Today website with this link: http://wildfiretoday.com/
Additionally, the SJSU’s Fire Weather Lab Twitter page has numerous information and pictures from the Pioneer Fire found with this link: https://twitter.com/FireWeatherLab