Concentrations of PM2.5-associated OC, EC, and PCDD/Fs measured during the 2003 wildfire season in Missoula, Montana

Tony J. Ward, Emily Lincoln

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11 Scopus citations


Throughout August and September, 2003, wildfires burned in close proximity to Missoula, Montana, with smoke emanating from the fires impacting the valley for much of the summer. This presented the perfect opportunity to measure the levels of polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/F) comprising ambient forest fire smoke particles impacting the Missoula Valley. An air sampler at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) compliance site in Missoula measured hourly averages of PM10 throughout the fire season. Three collocated PM2.5 cyclones collected 24-h smoke samples using quartz filters and Polyurethane Foam (PUF) sorbent cartridges. From the quartz filters, concentrations of Organic and Elemental Carbon (OC/EC) were measured, while PCDD/F were measured from one set of a filter (particle phase) and PUF (vapor phase) aggregate of samples in an attempt to also investigate the different phases of PCDD/F in forest fire smoke impaired communities. Hourly PM10 concentrations peaked at 302.9 μg m-3 on August 15. The highest OC concentration (115.6 μg m-3) was measured between August 21-22, and the highest EC concentration of 10.5 μg m-3 was measured August 20-21. Measurable concentrations of PM2.5 associated PCDD/Fs were not detected from a representative aggregate sample, with the exception of small amounts of 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-heptachlorodibenzodioxin and octachlorodibenzodioxin. PM2.5 samples collected during the smoke events were composed of approximately 65% OC. However, the OC fraction of the particles collected in the smoke impaired Missoula valley was not composed of significant amounts of PCDD/F.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Dioxins
  • Elemental carbon
  • Forest fire
  • Organic carbon
  • PM
  • Smoke


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