Science Inventory

Seasonal Emission Factors from Rangeland Prescribed Burns in the Kansas Flint Hills Grasslands


Aurell, J., B. Gullett, G. Grier, A. Holder, AND I. George. Seasonal Emission Factors from Rangeland Prescribed Burns in the Kansas Flint Hills Grasslands. ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 304:119769, (2023).


This paper concerns emissions from agricultural burning in the Flint Hills region of the USA. Field testing results from emissions sampling are presented in terms of field types, biomass density, and season of burn. The emission factors in this work significantly augment the very limited data available for the burning in this region. The seasonal information on emissions may inform policies regarding optimal time of year to conduct prescribed burning. This work will be of interest to regulators and policy makers as well as the landowners conducting the burns.


Operational-sized prescribed grassland burns at three mid-West U.S. locations and ten 1-ha-sized prescribed grassland burns were conducted in the Flint Hills of Kansas to determine emission factors and their potential seasonal effects. Ground-, aerostat-, and unmanned aircraft system-based platforms were used to sample plume emissions for a range of gaseous and particulate pollutants. The ten co-located, 1-ha-sized plots allowed for testing five plots in the spring and five in the late summer, allowing for control of vegetation type, biomass loading, climate history, and land use. The operational-sized burns provided a range of conditions under which to determine emission factors relevant to the Flint Hills grasslands. The 1-ha plots showed that emission factors for pollutants such as PM2.5 and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene) were higher during the late summer than during the traditional spring burn season. This is likely due to increased biomass density and fuel moisture in the growing season biomass resulting in reduced combustion efficiency.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:07/01/2023
Record Last Revised:06/02/2023
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 357973