8.5 Mercury emissions and dispersion from the 2007 south Georgia wildfires

Thursday, 25 October 2007: 9:30 AM
The Turrets (Atlantic Oakes Resort)
Scott L. Goodrick, USDA Forest Service, Athens, GA; and Y. Liu, R. J. DiCosty, M. A. Callaham, and J. A. Stanturf

In April 2007, several wildfires broke out in the southern part of Georgia around the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. By the start of June these fires, along with other new ignitions had spread into northern Florida, forming several fire complexes (Big Turnaround, Georgia Bay and the Bugaboo) that combined for over 600,000 acres (approximately 243,000 hectares). The potential air quality impacts of these fires are tremendous due to their long duration and geographic location. For approximately two months these fires have been a significant source of air pollutants and during the spring the prevailing weather patterns would tend to push these pollutants to the west and northwest, dispersing the smoke along the Florida panhandle and eventually up the east coast. Using mercury deposition information gathered as part of a prescribed burning study in this region, mercury emissions from these wildfires are estimated and the subsequent dispersion of the mercury is tracked using the Community Multiscale Air Quality model (CMAQ). This research represents just a small fraction of an overall assessment into the air quality impacts of these fires.
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