Chris Butenhoff


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Summer 8-20-2021


Fire ecology, Fuel reduction (Wildfire prevention), Climatic changes, Wildfires -- Prevention and control, Ecology -- Effect of drought on -- United States


Wildfires impact public health, and threaten life, livelihood, and property across the United States, particularly on the West Coast. This project seeks to find correlations between drought and wildfire emissions by comparing the Modified Palmer Drought Index (PMDI) with smoke particulate (PM2.5) emissions from fires in Oregon and Washington. PM2.5 emissions were taken from 2002 – 2020 from the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s FINN model, which uses satellite observations of active fires to assign burned area, and compares against observed vegetation to model emissions. This project found the strongest positive correlation between fire activity for a summer season (July – October) with the drought index for August. It also found a negative correlation between a wet previous year and the next year’s fire emissions in grasslands and shrublands.

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