The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to advance scientific understanding of wildland fire smoke production, transport, and photochemistry relevant to the management of Department of Defense (DoD) lands. Of particular interest was an emphasis on modeling fire processes, emissions production, atmospheric coupling and transport, the chemical composition of fresh and photochemically processed smoke, and its downwind dispersion. In responding to this SON, proposers should have provided evidence of a familiarity with the current state of smoke management science.
Familiarity with the knowledge gaps and research needs described in the recently published “Wildland Fire Smoke in the United States: A Scientific Assessment” (Peterson, McCaffrey, Patel-Weynand, et. al., 2022) was useful in proposal development since consideration was given to efforts that address the type of knowledge gaps and research needs described therein, such as how current field data from collaborative research burns may be optimally used, quality assured, and integrated into coupled fire-atmospheric wildland fire smoke models.
The expected benefit of the proposed work is the development and application of fundamental knowledge in support of limiting wildland fire smoke impacts to DoD personnel, installations, and adjacent communities with a particular emphasis on modeling fire processes, emissions production, atmospheric coupling and transport the chemical composition of fresh and photochemically processed smoke, and its downwind dispersion. The knowledge derived from this research will ultimately be used for the development of improved coupled fire-atmospheric smoke tools for wildland fire management.
Prescribed wildland fire is employed on military lands as part of DoD landscape and ecosystems stewardship activities that decrease risks from wildfire, support ecosystems resilience, and sustain training operations. To improve safety and ensure the most effective use of fire for these purposes, DoD land managers need improved information and modeling tools that support the analysis of smoke emissions (i.e., quantity, composition, in-plume photochemical changes and downwind dispersion), assist in identifying optimal burning meteorological conditions, timing and frequency, and provide projections of the anticipated direction and potential impacts of unintentional fire. Through its DoD Wildland Fire Science Initiative, SERDP and ESTCP have advanced scientific understanding of fire behavior in the landscape by maturing the knowledge required to understand the physical nature of fire in the landscape and to develop science-based management tools. This SON builds upon these advances to facilitate understanding of the processes and variables determining the quantities and chemical composition of landscape fire smoke -- vital information needed to anticipate the near-field and downwind impacts and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to fire. This research investment will ultimately strengthen mission-critical infrastructure and limit degradation of operations, avoid restrictions or loss of testing and training lands due to regulations and/or degraded conditions, improve the health and safety for installation personnel and surrounding communities, and support DoD’s GHG emissions reduction effort.
The cost and time to meet the requirements of this SON were at the discretion of the proposer. The proposals had to describe a complete research effort. It is anticipated that the scope of this statement of need is such that a multi-disciplinary team will be required to execute a successful effort. Nonetheless, single investigator efforts may compete successfully. The proposer should have incorporated the appropriate time, schedule, and cost requirements to accomplish the scope of work proposed.
Standard Proposals: These proposals describe a complete research effort. The proposer should incorporate the appropriate time, schedule, and cost requirements to accomplish the scope of work proposed. SERDP projects normally run from two to four years in length and vary considerably in cost consistent with the scope of the effort but must not exceed $900,000 per year. Preference will be given to proposals that efficiently address and integrate specific research objectives. Project budgets vary but must remain consistent with the scope of the effort.
Limited Scope Proposals: Proposers with innovative approaches to the SON that entail high technical risk or have minimal supporting data may submit a Limited Scope Proposal for funding for an amount not to exceed $125,000 per year for a period not to exceed two years. Such proposals may be eligible for follow-on funding if they result in a successful initial project. The objective of these proposals should be to acquire the data necessary to demonstrate proof-of-concept or reduction of risk that will lead to development of a future Standard Proposal. Proposers should submit Limited Scope Proposals in accordance with the SERDP Core Solicitation instructions and deadlines.