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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Emissions of gaseous pollutants released by forest fire in relation to litter fuel moisture content

Ma, Yuanfan; Yang, Song; Zhu, Zhongpan; Wang, Guangyu; Tigabu, Mulualem; Guo, Yuxuan; Zheng, Wenxia; Guo, Futao


The moisture content of forest floor fuel influences fire initiation and spread, but little is known about its impact on the emissions of pollutants. This study aimed to estimate quantitatively the characteristic change of pollutants emitted by forest fires at various fuel moisture content. Thus, litter fuel (both branches and leaves) of two dominant coniferous species (Cunninghamia lanceolata and Pinus massoniana) and two dominant broad-leaved species (Eucalyptus robusta and Cinnamomum camphora) in Southeast China were experimentally burned in an indoor biomass combustion facility, and smoke and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The results showed that CO, CO2, NOx, and SO(2 )reached peak concentrations faster at low moisture content. However, emission factors of CO increased, whereas emission factors of CO2, NOx, and SO2 decreased as the moisture content of fuels increased. Emission factors of CO, CO2, NOx and SO2 released from combustion of conifer fuels significantly increased with fuel moisture content compared to broadleaved fuels. Total NMHCs emission was positively affected by the fuel moisture content. As the moisture content of the fuels increased, multi-branched and long-chain alkane emissions increased, whereas olefin and aromatic hydrocarbon emissions decreased but emissions of olefins and aromatic hydrocarbons with more branched chains increased. The findings provide valuable insight about the impact of forest fire on atmospheric environment and fire prevention measures.


Emission factors; Forest floor fuel; Fire emission; Litter moisture; Non-methane hydrocarbons

Published in

Atmospheric Environment
2022, Volume: 284, article number: 119215

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    Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
    Environmental Sciences

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