Canada’s Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory Report 2022: annex 2.10

A2.10 Estimation methodologies for Fires by sector

Prescribed Burning


Prescribed Burning includes emissions from controlled fires used for land management treatments. Prescribed burning is used to reduce logging residues, manage forest production, control insects and minimize potential for destructive wildfires. This treatment is carried out by the logging industry and forestry officials to manage Crown lands. This sector excludes the burning of agricultural residues.

General inventory method

Pollutant(s) estimated:
TPM, PM10, PM2.5, SOx, NOx, VOCs, CO, NH3, dioxins/furans, B[a]p, B[b]f, B[k]f, I(cd)p

Total annual mass of forest debris burned by fire and by province and territory is multiplied by pollutant-specific emission factors.

Activity data

The total number of hectares burned in each province and territory per year (CIFFC, 2021; PCA, 2021; NFD, 2016) is multiplied by a conversion factor for each province and territory (EC, 1992) to convert the area burned into the mass of forest debris burned. Pollutant and province-specific emission factors are then applied to the mass of forest debris to determine the release of pollutants from the burn.

Emission factors (EF)

TPM, PM10, PM2.5, SOx, NOx, VOCs, CO, NH3:

All provinces/territories (except British Columbia): U.S. EPA (1995)

British Columbia: GVRD and FVRD (2003), BCMWLAP (2004)

Dioxins/furans, B(b)f, B(k)f: Lemieux et al. (2004), B(a)p, I(cd)p: Johnson et al. (1992)

Structural Fires


Structural Fires cover emissions from vehicle fires (such as fires from cars, trains and airplanes) and buildings fires. Structural fires emit large quantities of pollutants due to rapid but incomplete combustion. This sector includes only emissions estimated in-house.

General inventory method

Pollutant(s) estimated:
TPM, PM10, PM2.5, NOx, VOCs, CO, NH3

Tonnes of structures burned per year, by province and territory, are multiplied by pollutant-specific emission factors.

Activity data

The Secretary/Treasurer of the Council of Canadian Fire Marshals and Fire CommissionersFootnote 4  (CCMFC) and the following members of the CCMFC are contacted to obtain the number of annual structural fires in their jurisdictions:

Number of structure fires in each province and territory is multiplied by a loading factor to convert the number of fires into tonnes of structure burned .

Loading factor = 1.04 t of structure burned/fire

Given the unavailability of activity data, emission estimates for 2001, 2002 and 2004 are calculated using linear interpolation.

Emission factors (EF)

TPM, PM10, PM2.5, NOx, VOCs, CO: GVRD and FVRD (2003)
NH3: Battye et al. (1994)

References, Annex 2.10, Estimation methodologies for Fires by sector

Battye R, Battye W, Overcash C, Fudge S. 1994. Development and selection of ammonia emission factors. Report No. EPA/600/R-94/190. Contract No. 68-D3-0034. Durham (NC): EC/R Incorporated. Prepared for U.S. EPA.

[BCMWLAP] British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. 2004. 2000 British Columbia emissions inventory of criteria air contaminants: Methods and calculations. Victoria (BC): British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection Water, Air and Climate Change Branch. [PDF]

[CIFFC] Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. 2021. Canada Report 2020. [PDF]

[EC] Environment Canada. 1992. Canada's greenhouse gas emissions: Estimates for 1990. Report No. EPS 5/AP/4. Ottawa (ON): Environment Canada.

[EIIP] Emission Inventory Improvement Program. 2001. EIIP Volume 3: Area Sources Preferred and Alternative Methods. Report No. EPA 454/R-97-004C. Research Triangle Park (NC): Eastern Reseach Group, Inc. Prepared for EIIP and U.S. EPA. [PDF]

[GVRD] Greater Vancouver Regional District, [FVRD] Fraser Valley Regional District. 2003. 2000 emission inventory for the Canadian portion of the Lower Fraser Valley airshed – detailed listing of results and methodology. Burnaby (BC): Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Johnson ND, Scholtz MT, Cassidy V, Davidson K, Ord D. 1992. MOE toxic chemical emission inventory for Ontario and Eastern North America. Report No. P92-T61- 5429/OG. Mississauga (ON): Ortech International. Prepared for Ontario Ministry of the Environment. [PDF]

Lemieux PM, Lutes CC, Santoianni DA. 2004. Emissions of organic air toxics from open burning: a comprehensive review. Prog Energy Combust Sci, 30(1):1-32.

[NFD] National Forestry Database. 2016. Table 6.1. Area of site preparation by jurisdiction, tenure and treatment, 1990-1998.

[PCA] Parks Canada Agency. 2021. Prescribed fires 1990 to 2020. Unpublished data. Parks Canada Agency.

[U.S. EPA] United States Environmental Protection Agency. 1995. Compilation of Air Pollutant Emissions Factors, Volume I: Stationary Point and Area Sources, 5th Edition. Research Triangle Park (NC): Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards.

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