Fire, Climate, and Air Quality

FY 2004 Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program
National Center for Environmental Research

Sorting Code Number: 2004-STAR-L1
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66:509

Technical Contact: Darrell Winner, 202-343-9748; email:
Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell, 202-343-9862, email:

Opening Date: April 20, 2004
Closing Date: July 22, 2004

Table of Contents:

Summary of Program Requirements
Specific Areas of Interest
Mechanism of Support/Funding
Cost Sharing
Submitting an Application
Application Processing and Review Information
Contact Points
Authority and Regulations


Synopsis of Program:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for research into the complex relationship of fires, climate change, and air quality.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 2-3
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $2 million total costs
Cost Sharing: None required
Potential Funding per Award per Year: Up to $250,000/year with a duration of 2 or 3 years and no more than a total of $750,000, including direct and indirect costs. Proposals with budgets exceeding the total award limits will not be considered.

Eligibility Information:
Institutions of higher education and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and Tribal, state and local governments are eligible to apply. See full announcement for more details.

Contact Persons:
Technical Contact: Darrell Winner, 202-343-9748; email:
Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell, 202-343-9862, email:


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) announces an extramural funding competition supporting research on the consequences of climate change for fires and the impact on air quality. EPA is interested in the analysis of how pollutant emissions related to tropospheric ozone and particulate matter formation may be altered by future climate changes.

While some attention has been given to the influence of fires on air quality (e.g. Delany, 1985; Colarco et al, 2004) and to the consequences of climate change for wildfires (e.g. Clark, 1988; Torn and Fried, 1992; Wildfire Alternatives, the research supported under this solicitation must integrate the complex interactions of fire, climate, and air quality, and explore the important uncertainties.

Current methods for developing air pollutant emission inventories from wildland fires are described in Battye and Battye, 2002. Clearly, climate variability influences the extent and intensity of fires. To the degree that climate change alters climate variability, the emissions of air pollutants and precursors will be altered. Additionally, altered fire regimes may be a significant cause for vegetation change (Overpeck et al., 1990, Mangan et al., 2004), which may, in turn, change biogenic emissions.

An important feature of this research is the long time frame (25 to 50 years) involved when considering climate change. In general, the current tools used to estimate air pollutant emissions do not have the capability to capture such long-term changes. For example, it is entirely reasonable when estimating next year's emissions to assume that communities, roads, and trees will be in the same locations and look much the same as they do today. However, 50 years from now this assumption is unlikely to hold true. As a result, it is necessary to either develop new or augment existing models to project changes.


This Request for Applications (RFA) complements global change research programs in EPA laboratories and centers as well as the objectives of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation relating to regional air quality. The overall framework for assessing the potential consequences of global changes on air quality in this RFA is the Global Change Multi-year Plan.

EPA's Global Change Research Program is assessing the potential consequences of global changes for human health, ecosystems, and social well being in the United States. The Program focuses on four major areas consistent with EPA’s mission: human health, aquatic ecosystems, water quality and air quality.


Successful proposals for this solicitation will address one or more of the following research topics within the context of climate change:   

  • What effects might predicted changes in climate (e.g. temperature, precipitation, drought, clouds) have on wildfires and consequently U.S. air quality?
  • How might the combination of climate change with fire, forest, and agricultural management strategies affect fire frequency, intensity, and air pollutant emissions? What are the tradeoffs in air pollutant emissions between managed fire and catastrophic wildfire?
  • What methods can be used to credibly project changes in biogenic emissions resulting from land-cover shifts over long-time frames (e.g., to 2050 and beyond) due to fires, fire management and changes in fires due to climate change?
  • How might future patterns of urban, suburban, and rural development affect natural and managed fires under conditions of a changing climate?

Research supported under this solicitation must relate to emissions significant to ozone and/or particulate matter (PM) concentrations (e.g. primary PM, secondary PM precursors, ozone precursors) within the U.S. Emissions from sources outside of the U.S. could be considered but the research must demonstrate how these emissions affect U.S. air quality.

In order to produce plausible future emission inventories from fires, critical information must include estimates of location, time, frequency, and fuel characteristics. Due to the inherent uncertainties in predicting the future, the emphasis should be on exploring a range of scenarios to demonstrate which forces and linkages are most important, rather than purporting an exact forecast of the future.

To the extent possible, future emission scenarios should be consistent with the continental scale emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Special Report Emissions Scenarios (SRES) ( (PDF, 27pp., 1.15MB) but not be overly restricted to them. Due to the assumptions implicit in modeling of emissions, it is important to document the spatial and temporal allocation methods that are developed, and the basis and uncertainty in future scenarios, including location and quantities. Successful proposals will include an explicit treatment of uncertainty, such as using multiple scenarios and other appropriate techniques.


Battye, W, and Battye, R. 2002 Development of emission inventory methods for wildland fire. Final Report for EPA

Clark, J.S. 1988. Effects of climate change on fire regimes in Northwestern Minnesota. Science 334, 233-235.

Colarco, P. R.; Schoeberl, M. R.; Doddridge, B. G.; Marufu, L. T.; Torres, O.; Welton, E. J. Transport of smoke from Canadian forest fires to the surface near Washington, D.C.:

Injection height, entrainment, and optical properties, J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 109, No. D6, 19 March 2004

Delany, A.C., P. Haagensen, S. Walters, A.F. Wartburg, and P.J. Crutzen. 1985. Photochemically produced ozone in the emissions from large-scale tropical vegetation fires. J. Geophys. Res. 90, 425-429.

IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001

Mangan, J.M, J.T. Overpeck, R.S. Webb, C. Wessman, and A.F.H. Goetz. 2004. Response of Nebraska Sand Hills natural vegetation to drought, fire, grazing, and plant functional type shifts as simulated by the CENTURY model. Climatic Change 63: 49-90.

Overpeck, J.T., D. Rind, and R. Goldberg. 1990. Climate-induced changes in forest disturbance and vegetation. Nature 343: 51-53.

Torn, M.S. and J.S. Fried, Predicting the impact of global warming on wildfire, Climatic Change 21: 257-274, 1992.

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Research Program

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Multi-year Plan

Wildfire Alternatives (WALTER)


It is anticipated that a total of approximately $2 million will be awarded, depending on the availability of funds. EPA anticipates funding approximately 2-3 grants under this RFA. The projected award per grant is $150,000 to $250,000 per year total costs, for up to 3 years. Requests with EPA funding amount in excess of $750,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered.

Assume a starting date of no earlier than December 2004 for budgeting purposes.


Institutions of higher education and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and Tribal, state and local governments are eligible to apply. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive grants from EPA under this program.

National laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, “FFRDCs”) may not apply. FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the principal investigator, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or principal investigator. The principal investigator's institution, organization, or governance may provide funds through its grant from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal agencies may not apply. Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant, and may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program. However, federal employees may interact with grantees so long as their involvement is not essential to achieving the basic goals of the grant. EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant principal investigators for the sole purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities. This interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant. Interaction that is “incidental” does not involve resource commitments.

The principal investigator’s institution may enter into an agreement with a federal agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere. A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency involved which commits it to supply the specified service. Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Tom Barnwell in NCER, phone 202-343-9862, email:


Institutional cost sharing is not required.


Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application
The Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application including the necessary forms will be found on the NCER web site.

Sorting Code
The need for a sorting code to be used in the application and for mailing is described in the Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application. The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is 2004-STAR-L1.


Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in this announcement. If an application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.

The following is the schedule for this RFA. It should be noted that this schedule might be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement.

Application Receipt Date: July 22, 2004
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: December 2004

The application review process will be found in the Standard Instructions. Consideration of an application’s merit is based on the following criteria: (1) the originality and creativity of the proposed research, the appropriateness and adequacy of the research methods proposed and the quality assurance statement; (2) the qualifications of the principal investigator(s) and other key personnel; (3) the responsiveness of the proposal to the research needs identified for the topic area; (4) the availability and/or adequacy of the facilities and equipment proposed for the project; and, (5) although budget information does not reflect on the application’s scientific merit, the reviewers are asked to provide their view on the appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget.


Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below. Email inquiries are preferred.

Technical Contact: Darrell Winner, 202-343-9748; email:
Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell, 202-343-9862, email:


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 66.509.

The authority for this RFA and resulting awards is contained in Clean Air Act, Section 103, as amended, Public Law 95-95, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.