Chemical speciation of PM2.5 collected during prescribed fires of the coconino national forest near flagstaff, arizona

Marin S. Robinson, Jesus Chavez, Sergio Velazquez, R. K.M. Jayanty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The use of prescribed fire is expected to increase in an effort to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, particularly at urban/forest interfaces. Fire is a well-known source of particulate matter (PM) with particle sizes ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), small diameter PM known to affect climate, visibility, and human health. In this work, PM2.5 was collected during seven first-entry burns (flaming and smoldering stages) and one maintenance burn of the Coconino National Forest. Samples were analyzed for organic and elemental carbon, cations (sodium, potassium [K+], and ammonium [NH4+]), anions (nitrate [NO3] and sulfate), and 48 elements (with atomic weights between sodium and lead). The PM2.5 contained high organic carbon levels (typically >90% by mass), commonly observed ions (K+, NH4+, and NO3) and elements (K+, chlorine, sulfur, and silicon), as well as titanium and chromium. Flaming produced higher K+ and NH4+ levels than smoldering, and the elemental signature was more complex (20 versus 7 elements). Average organic carbon × 1.4 mass fractions (± standard deviation) were lower during flaming (92 ± 14%) than during smoldering (124 ± 24%). The maintenance (grassland) burn produced lower particle concentrations, lower NH4+ and NO3 levels, and higher K and chlorine levels than did the first-entry fires.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1123
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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