First FIREX-AQ science flight takes off

  • 30 July 2019

On July 24th, the FIREX-AQ summer 2019 field campaign launched its first flight out of Boise, Idaho, the base for wildfire smoke studies. Partly funded by NOAA’s AC4 Program, FIREX-AQ is a joint NOAA/NASA initiative to study the impact of wildfires and prescribed burns on air quality and climate. Fire is an important natural event in many ecosystems, but it also poses costly risks to human health and property through direct impacts and smoke damage. These risks have increased in recent decades from shifts in forest management practices, our changing climate, and close proximity of people and homes to fires. However, smoke is very complex — its chemical composition and health impacts remain a major research gap. Bringing together hundreds of scientists from around the world to collect detailed measurements of trace gas, aerosol emissions, and chemistry from fires, FIREX-AQ will provide better information to first responders, public health and land management officials. The Boise portion of the mission will end next month with the 2019 field campaign to conclude in the fall. The first flight and 2019 campaign have already received widespread media coverage

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.