UPDATE – 11/15/17
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has placed a temporary air quality monitor in Vernon. This station monitors for PM2.5 (the smallest particles in the air). The data can be viewed on-line via this Web link: https://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx
This link is also located on the left side column of Apache County’s website under Informational Links and is titled ADEQ’s Springerville Particulate Monitor and now includes the Vernon Monitor information as well as other locations in the state.
General Prescribed Fire Smoke Information
ADEQ reviews daily burn plans and permits forest and range management fires set by federal and state land managers (US Forest Service, State Land Department, Bureau of Land Management and so forth).
For land manager burns within ADEQ’s scope of authority (non-Tribal burning), ADEQ’s daily reviews take into account the scope of the planned burns, other burns impacting the same area/airshed (including scheduled burns on Tribal lands) and local weather forecasts. Satellite imagery is another useful tool routinely used by ADEQ meteorologists to track smoke plumes.
ADEQ doesn’t have permitting authority for prescribed fire set on Tribal lands, though Tribes may voluntarily share their plans with ADEQ. Much of the recent burning in our part of the state has been occurring on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Additional burns on the Reservation are expected through much of November. Delbert Altaha is the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s air quality specialist: (928) 594-8685, and Marco Burnette is another WMAT contact for questions/concerns about prescribed burns: (928) 338-4325.
List of Daily Burns
The following link is to an ADEQ Web page listing the approved daily burns: http://smoke.azdeq.gov/
These are burns permitted by ADEQ (or acknowledged by ADEQ in the case of Tribes); however, they may not occur for various reasons, such as a change in weather conditions. Clicking on the location of each planned burn will bring up a site map.
For this Web page, burn numbers beginning with “FTA” are those projects on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. “ASF” in the burn number denotes a planned burn by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
The following resources are useful regarding health effects from smoke:
· Please click on the following Web link for a guidance document that is well-recognized as an excellent resource for everything smoke related: https://www3.epa.gov/airnow/wildfire_may2016.pdf. Health effects information begins on page #13.
· ADEQ’s Fires, Smoke and Your Health Brochure can be accessed at this URL: http://legacy.azdeq.gov/environ/air/smoke/download/fire_smoke_your_health_brochure.pdf.
· Attached is a May 2017 ADEQ presentation for county emergency management and health personnel in preparation for the 2017 wildfire season. While the presentation is specific to wildfire, it has applicability to prescribed fire as well.
Air Monitoring and Data
A link to ADEQ’s Portable Particulate Monitors Web page follows: https://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx.
ADEQ maintains air quality monitors in Show Low and in Springerville. Both stations monitor for PM2.5 (the smallest particles in the air) and can be effective for assessing more regional air quality impacts from smoke. Citizens are able to review (and graph) current and historical data from the air monitoring stations (including the Show Low and Springerville sites) via the above Web link. This Web page might help with some of the data needs referenced in your e-mail message. I would be happy assist with navigating this Web page if/when needed.
At times it is certainly possible for smoke plumes to impact the Vernon area without detection on ADEQ’s Show Low and Springerville air monitors. Resources don’t allow for monitoring of every prescribed burn or wildfire. However, in the more extreme smoke cases, placement of temporary monitors may be needed. Smoke complaints, photos and detailed descriptions of smoke impacts received from residents are helpful with these decisions (please see below – “How Citizens Can Help”).
In terms of statistical data, please let me know more specifically the types of additional data which might be most helpful.
How Citizens Can Help
A Web link to ADEQ’s on-line complaint form follows: http://legacy.azdeq.gov/function/compliance/complaint.html
ADEQ welcomes and appreciates information/concerns from the public regarding air quality conditions observed on the ground. The on-line complaint form is a straight-forward way for residents to voice their concerns. Complaints are most helpful and effective when they include detailed information about smoke, including times when the smoke impacts began, and ended (if applicable).
ADEQ would also welcome photographs from concerned residents – photographs not only of a smoke plume, but from all directions of the photographer’s position (north, south, east, west). Photographs should be accompanied by the date/time taken, and a narrative of smoke observations (e.g. times when impacted).