Air pollutant emissions associated with forest, grassland, and agricultural burning in Texas

Ann Dennis, Matthew Fraser, Stephen Anderson, David Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Outdoor fires, such as wildfires and prescribed burns, can emit substantial amounts of particulate matter and other pollutants into the atmosphere. In Texas, an inventory of forest, grassland and agricultural burning activities revealed that fires consumed vegetation on 1.6 and 1.7 million acres of land, in 1996 and 1997, respectively. Emissions from the fires were estimated based on survey and field data on acres burned and land cover and literature data on fuel consumption and emission factors. Fire data were allocated spatially by county and temporally by month. While fire events can cause high transient air pollutant concentrations, for most criteria pollutants, the fire emissions were a relatively small fraction of the annual emission inventory for the State. For fine particulate matter, however, the annual emission estimates were 40,000 tons/yr, which is likely to represent a significant fraction of the State's emission inventory, especially in the counties where the emissions are concentrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3779-3792
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number23
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Criteria pollutants
  • Emission inventory
  • Fire
  • Land cover
  • Particulate matter
  • Texas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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