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Title: Residual impacts of a wildland urban interface fire on urban particulate matter and dust: a study from the Marshall Fire
The impacts of wildfires along the wildland urban interface (WUI) on atmospheric particulate concentrations and composition are an understudied source of air pollution exposure. To assess the residual impacts of the 2021 Marshall Fire (Colorado), a wildfire that predominantly burned homes and other human-made materials, on homes within the fire perimeter that escaped the fire, we performed a combination of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) filter sampling and chemical analysis, indoor dust collection and chemical analysis, community scale PurpleAir PM2.5 analysis, and indoor particle number concentration measurements. Following the fire, the chemical speciation of dust collected in smoke-affected homes in the burned zone showed elevated concentrations of the biomass burning marker levoglucosan (medianlevo = 4147 ng g−1), EPA priority toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (median Σ16PAH = 1859.3 ng g−1), and metals (median Σ20Metals = 34.6 mg g−1) when compared to samples collected in homes outside of the burn zone 6 months after the fire. As indoor dust particles are often resuspended and can become airborne, the enhanced concentration of hazardous metals and organics within dust samples may pose a threat to human health. Indoor airborne particulate organic carbon (median = 1.91 μg m−3), particulate elemental carbon (median = .02 μg m−3), and quantified semi-volatile organic species in PM2.5 were found in concentrations comparable to ambient air in urban areas across the USA. Particle number and size distribution analysis at a heavily instrumented supersite home located immediately next to the burned area showed indoor particulates in low concentrations (below 10 μg m−3) across various sizes of PM (12 nm–20 μm), but were elevated by resuspension from human activity, including cleaning.  more » « less
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Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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