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Identification of meteorological factors affecting the timing of prescribed burning in the Flint Hills.

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100194.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100194)
Authors:   Demilade S Akinbile, Zifei Liu, Dr.
Keywords:   Prescribed burning, Weather conditions

Abstract. Prescribed agricultural burning in the Flint Hills region produces air pollutants, which play important roles in severe air quality problems. The timing of burning can significantly affect the resulting smoke dispersion and degrades air quality by increasing the particulate matter and ground ozone levels in the ambient air. Weather conditions and atmospheric stability influence the smoke dispersion and its impact on air quality. Here, we develop classification of the Flint Hills region's daily burned-area from 2010 to 2019 based on daily meteorological data input from Kansas Riley county. The classification developed was used to rank the importance of meteorological parameters in burning decisions, identify the basic meteorological conditions that allowed burning, and the preferred meteorological conditions when intensive burning occurred. Solar radiation is scored as the first weather variable while precipitation received the least score. However, there are variation in weather conditions between heavy fire category and KDHE recommendation. Heavy prescribed fire characteristically occur when solar radiation is high, maximum relative humidity is high, maximum air temperature is within KDHE recommended value, average wind speed is relatively within preferred value , wind direction is predominantly in east or west facing direction and no or low precipitation. We anticipate the outcome products will be useful as a guideline to develop a decision tool that helps land managers plan burning activities better and achieve their management objectives by allowing more burning when weather conditions are favorable.

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