OpenGov: “The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have released updates to the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map to help protect communities from the effects of wildfire smoke. Started as a pilot project last year, the map pulls data from three sources: temporary monitors such as those the Forest Service and other agencies have deployed near fires; crowdsourced data from nearly 10,000 low-cost sensors nationwide that measure fine particle pollution, the major harmful pollutant in smoke; and monitors that regularly report to AirNow, EPA’s one-stop source for air quality data.
The agencies announced improvements to the map, including a dashboard that gives users quick access to information that can help them plan their outdoor activities, the current Air Quality Index (AQI) category at the monitor or sensor location, data showing whether air quality is improving or worsening, and information about actions to consider taking based on the AQI.
EPA and USFS developed the map-pilot to provide information on fire locations, smoke plumes and air quality in one place. It had more than 7.4 million views in its first three months. The map imports data from almost 10,000 sensors from an air quality sensor network that crowdsources data on particle pollution, providing real-time measurement of air quality on a public map. This was a logical addition to two other projects already underway.
The extra data points the sensors provided proved useful in characterising air quality during the 2020 fire season, and we had positive reception from state, local and tribal air agency partners, and from the public. The map is intended for individuals to use in making decisions about outdoor activities based on air quality, but the unique fire, smoke and concentration data can help increase awareness of the significant impacts of wildfires across all levels of government — federal, state, local and tribal — and provide a valuable tool to assist agencies as they work to protect public health from wildfire smoke during these emergencies….(More)”.