Through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and multiple universities, a group of researchers in the College of Engineering recently conducted a series of fire tests to provide new insights on the air quality and climate impacts of wildland-fire smoke.

Led by College of Engineering Associate Professor Rawad Saleh, the experiments were conducted in a controlled laboratory environment using samples from three ecoregions in Georgia: Piedmont, Coastal Plains and Blue Ridge. After replicating a forest floor in the laboratory, Saleh and the other researchers simulated controlled burns and wildfires to measure the atmospheric differences between the two. Using instruments in the lab, researchers and students “aged” the smoke to simulate how it would evolve in the atmosphere and measured different smoke properties, such as particulate matter sizes, chemical composition and optical properties.

The results from this project will be published within the next year, Saleh said.