Technical Bulletin No. 0099: A Review of Air Quality Impacts of Prescribed Forestry Burning and Identified Research Needs (AQTB)

  The intentional burning of logging residues and natural accumulation of organic debris on the forest floor is an essential element of good forestry management. This practice, known as prescribed burning, is carried out to facilitate reforestation and reduce or eliminate the fire hazard in established forests. The emissions from this practice are among the sources being studied to assess their effect on ambient air quality. Historically, the main concern over prescribed forestry burning has been aesthetic, expressed as a concern about visual appearance. The emissions from prescribed burning have in recent years been more extensively considered as a factor in maintenance of satisfactory ambient air quality. The emission component of principal concern is particulate matter, possibly a factor in ambient particulate emission levels and visibility reduction as well. There has also been speculation about the presence of other emission components of sufficient quantity to materially impact on air quality, although there is little or no evidence at the present to suggest that a concern is well founded.