THE PROOF IS IN THE RESULTS
Managing smoke from outdoor burning in Montana and Idaho is a challenging task at the intersection of human health, visibility protection, wildland restoration and resource management. During peak burning season, hundreds of burn requests are made across both states. Coordinating who can burn when is essential to balancing the needs of the many stakeholders involved. The Airshed Management System, developed and maintained by Air Sciences Inc., serves as the coordination hub that allows burners to enter the details of their burn plans, make daily requests, and understand the details behind the approval process. An interactive mapping tool allows the burn coordinator to display, filter, and approve burns, notify burners with automated email messages, export reports to notify regulators, and compile year-end statistics for future planning.
This project has presented interesting challenges over the years. There is a diverse group of stakeholders including loggers, silviculturalists, fire ecologists, air quality planners, and regulators. The over-arching theme throughout our time with MIAG has been to keep the interface simple and clean, include detailed instructions and tutorials, and provide responsive, cost-effective service.
Since 2009 Air Sciences air quality compliance specialists have provided technical expertise to the Montana/Idaho Airshed Group (MIAG) to develop and maintain their online smoke management system. MIAG is a voluntary organization made up of agencies and private foresters to coordinate forest burning that occurs in the Spring and Fall. During peak burning season, hundreds of burn requests are made across both states, requiring an efficient, well-organized system to facilitate decision-making.
“Wow, that’s way better than what we were asking for…. It’s really hard to condense the degree to which you ‘get it’ and can apply it into a sentence or two.”
Erin Law, Montana/Idaho Airshed Group