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Can air quality management drive sustainable fuels management at the temperate wildland–urban interface?


Bowman, DMJS and Daniels, LD and Johnston, FH and Williamson, GJ and Jolly, WM and Magzamen, S and Rappold, AG and Brauer, M and Henderson, SB, Can air quality management drive sustainable fuels management at the temperate wildland-urban interface?, Fire, 1, (2) pp. 27. ISSN 2571-6255 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3390/fire1020027


Sustainable fire management has eluded all industrial societies. Given the growing number and magnitude of wildfire events, prescribed fire is being increasingly promoted as the key to reducing wildfire risk. However, smoke from prescribed fires can adversely affect public health. We propose that the application of air quality standards can lead to the development and adoption of sustainable fire management approaches that lower the risk of economically and ecologically damaging wildfires while improving air quality and reducing climate-forcing emissions. For example, green fire breaks at the wildland–urban interface (WUI) can resist the spread of wildfires into urban areas. These could be created through mechanical thinning of trees, and then maintained by targeted prescribed fire to create biodiverse and aesthetically pleasing landscapes. The harvested woody debris could be used for pellets and other forms of bioenergy in residential space heating and electricity generation. Collectively, such an approach would reduce the negative health impacts of smoke pollution from wildfires, prescribed fires, and combustion of wood for domestic heating. We illustrate such possibilities by comparing current and potential fire management approaches in the temperate and environmentally similar landscapes of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and the island state of Tasmania in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fire management, fuels management, wildfire, prescribed fire, mechanical thinning, green fire breaks, smoke, air pollution, fire, particulates, forest, temperate, prescribed burning, public health, air quality regulation
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Landscape ecology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
ID Code:127707
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2018-08-10
Last Modified:2019-03-28
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