OAR 629-048-0220
Forecast Procedures


There are several concepts and procedural steps involved in accomplishing the Smoke Management Plan objectives, designed to maximize opportunities for accomplishing burning while minimizing the likelihood of public health effects or visibility impairment in Class I Areas. The following sections of this rule attempt to explain some of these concepts.


The basic underlying mechanism in smoke management is the use of an understanding of atmospheric dynamics and combustion processes, in concert with current weather forecasts, to ensure that the bulk of emissions from prescribed burning are transported to areas of low or no adverse effect by:


In the case of broadcast or large pile burning, generating heat rapidly so that the fuel is quickly consumed and emissions rise sufficiently above ground level to either:


Become diluted and dispersed in the atmosphere via transport winds to areas of minimal impact; or


Mix with the moisture in clouds and fall back to earth as precipitation; or


In the case of low-intensity underburning or small piles under the forest canopy, managing the volume of material burned per unit of time and paying careful attention to surface winds to keep total emissions low and disperse the smoke to relatively unpopulated areas.


For each day that prescribed burning is planned on forestland with Level 1 regulation, a weather forecast is prepared by meteorologists specializing in smoke management. By examining the atmospheric conditions predicted for the burn day, such as vent heights, mixing layers, wind speed and direction, as well as information about what level of pollutants may already be present in a given area, the meteorologists determine if and where conditions will be favorable to accomplish burning.


In addition to the weather forecast, specific information is required on the location of planned burns, and the tonnage of fuel that is expected to be consumed in a burn. This information is provided on a per unit basis at the time that burns are registered and planned with the forester (see OAR 629-048-0300 (Registration of Intent to Burn)).


With knowledge of the information described above, and based on dispersion models that have been developed through time and experience, forecasters are able to reasonably predict how much smoke can be put into the atmosphere, and at what locations, without likelihood of threat to air quality objectives. This information is then converted into instructions to field administrators and burn bosses as to what tonnages, in what weather zones and at what distances from SSRAs prescribed burning may be permitted.
(6) The forecast and instructions are made available to field administrators and any interested parties by 3:15 p.m. each day, as necessary. Locally, planned burns are compared against the forecast and instructions, as well as any local prioritization of burns, to determine which burns, if any, will be permitted on the following day. If there are any changes in the forecast for the day of the burn, the Smoke Management forecast unit will make every effort to place a message on an automatic answering phone by 8:00 a.m.

Source: Rule 629-048-0220 — Forecast Procedures, https://secure.­sos.­state.­or.­us/oard/view.­action?ruleNumber=629-048-0220.

Last Updated

Jun. 8, 2021

Rule 629-048-0220’s source at or​.us