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WSMART – Providing Supplemental Air Quality Monitoring Technology During Wildfires

Hosted by EPA 

Virtual | March 23, 2023, 3 pm ET 

Smoke from wildfires can quickly degrade air quality in areas downwind, causing a visible haze and health impacts. Modulated by meteorology and fire conditions, smoke impacts vary with time and location, sometimes affecting areas without any nearby air monitors. As part of a federal government response to address the growing threat of wildfires and related smoke impacts that are a public health concern in the United States, the Wildfire Smoke Air Monitoring Response Technology (WSMART) program provides supplemental air monitoring equipment to the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program (IWFAQRP) as well as state, local, and tribal air agencies upon request. This presentation will discuss the challenges of wildfire smoke monitoring, explain the WSMART technology, show real-world examples of use, and share future plans. 



Dr. Amara Holder, Ph.D. is a research mechanical engineer with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development. She received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Berkely and has been researcher with EPA since 2011. Her research focuses broadly on the particulate matter emitted from combustion sources and their impacts on human health and the environment, with a special focus on smoke from wildland fires. She has been active in developing and evaluating particulate matter sensors for wildfire smoke monitoring and applying these technologies to better understand how wildfire smoke impacts both outdoor and indoor air quality. She has been part of an EPA team researching the factors that impact smoke infiltration and what actions can be taken to reduce smoke exposure indoors. She has contributed to multiple scientific assessments on wildfire smoke and served as a member of the National Academies Committee on the Chemistry of Urban Wildfires.

Peter Lahm is the Air Resource Specialist for the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry, Fire and Aviation Management, in Washington, DC. He leads the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program which provides personnel, technical specialists called Air Resource Advisors, smoke modeling and monitoring capabilities to develop forecasts for areas adversely affected by smoke. Starting in 2004, Pete has led the Forest Service’s national smoke management efforts developing technical approaches and policies related to smoke impacts from prescribed fire and wildfires. Since 2006 he has chaired the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s Smoke Committee.