Prescribed Fire Monitoring and Reporting

Department: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Program Description: Successfully increasing prescribed fire must be supported with effective planning, smoke monitoring and reporting to assess health and climate impacts, as well as public education and outreach to secure awareness and support. Funding is included for the California Air Resources Board and local air districts for increased monitoring, permitting, and communication related to prescribed fire.

Program Impact: Air districts statewide have achieved documented increases in prescribed burn smoke monitoring, and in public notification and public education. Smoke monitors are cached at five locations across the state for air district use. The California Smoke Spotter mobile app received several upgrades in 2022 to improve the public burn and smoke notification platform, including more frequent refreshing of burn status and wildfire notifications added to existing information on individual prescribed burns. The State’s voluntary prescribed fire information reporting system (PFIRS) for smoke management is being upgraded in coordination with data system improvements at CAL FIRE and other agencies.

Resilience in Action: In the three years since inception of the CARB prescribed burn reporting and monitoring program, June 2019 to June 2022, the state’s air districts logged 9,449 reported prescribed burns, representing more than 366,000 total acres managed. Burns monitored statewide for air quality impacts totaled 987 over the same period, representing a 60 percent average year-over-year increase in burn monitoring from 2020 to 2022.

Program Website Links:

Traditional Media Coverage:

California Smoke Spotter 2.0 launch (August 2022):

 Since California Smoke Spotter was first launched in May 2021, and with the addition of wildfire smoke information and forecasting in August 2022, nearly 8,000 users have downloaded the app.