Critical Review

The 50th Annual A&WMA Critical Review                                         Sponsored by

This session will be live-streamed to conference registrants on
Thursday, July 2, from 11 am - 1:30 pm ET. 

Wildfire and Prescribed Burning Impacts on Air Quality in the United States

Lead Author: Dr. Daniel A. Jaffe, Professor & Chair of Physical Sciences Division, University of Washington, School of STEM and Department of Atmospheric Sciences
Daniel A. JaffeDr. Daniel A. Jaffe is a Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Washington in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and in the School of STEM at the University of Washington (UW) Bothell Campus. He is also Chair of the Physical Sciences Division in the School of STEM at UW Bothell. He is an expert on atmospheric chemistry, mercury, ozone, urban and regional smog, and long-range transport of pollutants, and the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed publications on these topics. Dr. Jaffe is widely recognized as an expert on global transport of pollutants, especially transport from Asia to the United States and has several papers on the influence of background sources on regional and urban air quality. Dr. Jaffe’s work has received much recognition, including being named to the National Academy of Sciences’ panel on “Global Sources of Air Pollutants” and receiving the UW Bothell’s first Distinguished Research Award.  He started and is the Principal Investigator for the Mt. Bachelor Observatory in Central Oregon, which is the only high elevation research station on the West Coast.  His research has been supported by the NSF, NOAA, EPA, NASA, NPS, EPRI, API, and other organizations.

Contributing Authors: Susan M. O'Neill, Pacific North West Research Station, U.S. Forest Service; Amara L. Holder, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development; David L. Peterson, University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences; Ana Rappold, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab; Jessica E. Halofsky, University of Washington, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences

Susan O’Neill is an Air Quality Scientist with the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, AirFire Team. She obtained her Ph.D. from the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research at Washington State University and began her Forest Service career in 2002 leading the development effort of the first version of the BlueSky smoke modeling framework. She then continued on to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as part of their Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team, and in 2012 re-joined the AirFire Team. Her research interests include fire emissions calculation; modeling smoke dispersion, transport, and chemical transformation; and exploring the application of satellite data to smoke and fire.
In the 50th Annual A&WMA Critical Review, the authors will cover the topic of fire and air quality. Several factors have recently combined to make this one of the hottest and most important topics in environmental science right now.  This includes our changing climate, the increase presence of humans in forests and wildlands, the increase in population at the wildland-urban interface, and the role of historical fire management. As a result of these factors, wildfires--and the resulting air pollution impacts--are on the rise across the United States. How do wildfires vary in different regions of the United States? What are the direct emissions and the chemical processing of the resulting air pollution? What are the health impacts of smoke, and who is most at risk? What can be done to reduce the health effects? What are the policy implications for communities trying to meet the national air quality standards? How should we manage our forests to provide optimum benefit for all, while minimizing fire risks? Should we try to eliminate fire from our forests and wildlands? Should we use prescribed fires to minimize the risk, and what about the air pollution these generate? These, and other questions, will be considered. This Critical Review team of authors includes the leading experts on these topics, and will cover a full range of issues across the fire/air quality/health perspectives and provide a Critical Review of key uncertainties and unknowns.
The full-length paper will appear in the June 2020 issue of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (JA&WMA) and its conclusions will be presented live as part of the ACE 2020 in San Francisco. Following the review presentation, a panel of invited experts will critique the presentation and offer their own views on the topic. Invited discussants will represent key stakeholder groups, including federal and state environmental, health, and safety agencies; fire management experts; NGOs; community action groups; and academia. Comments also will be solicited from the floor during a live Q & A sequence to end the session. To complete the review process, the Critical Review Committee Chair will synthesize all of the discussion points into a Discussion Paper that will be published in the October 2020 issue of JA&WMA.
Discussants: The four invited discussants will offer different perspectives on the Review and will be asked to identify additional issues and offer alternative commentary based on their scientific expertise. Comments also will be solicited and accepted from the floor and from written submissions to the Chair of Critical Review Committee until August 1, 2020. The Chair will condense and summarize these points in the October 2020 issue of JA&WMA

Merlyn L. Hough, P.E., BCEE, Director of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency in Springfield-Eugene, Oregon. He is responsible for the overall direction of the regional air quality agency for Lane County, and has been invited to address regulatory perspectives.

Fernando Garcia Menendez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. He uses computational modeling and data analysis to explore interdisciplinary questions related to air pollution, climate change, and environmental policy, and has been invited to discuss air quality and public health impacts of wildland fire in the Southeastern United States.

Charles Thomas (Tom) Moore, Jr., Air Quality Program Manager for the Western Regional Air Partnership (WRAP) and for the Western States Air Resources Council (WESTAR), the association of state air quality agencies for 15 western states. He has led numerous regional air pollution studies and analysis projects, and has been invited to address visibility issues

Qi Zhang, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Davis. She focuses her research on understanding the chemical and physical properties, emission sources, lifecycle processes, and health impacts of atmospheric particulate pollutants, and has been invited to discuss fine and ultrafine particulates.

About the Critical Review
For 50 years, A&WMA has solicited and published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (JA&WMA) an Annual Critical Review on a topic of critical importance to the air and waste management fields. Each year, the review author presents the Critical Review during A&WMA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition. The Critical Review Committee selects the review topics, solicits the authors/presenters, offers editorial guidance and critiques, reviews the final manuscript before publication, and selects the participants for the panel discussion that follows the presentation.

Members are encouraged to suggest topics and authors for future critical reviews and to apply for membership on the Critical Review Committee. If you are interested in joining the committee, please inquire with the Chair at

A&WMA Critical Review Committee