What is it about?

This work aimed to determine the potential activity of long-lived radionuclides in surface air caused by forest fires and to estimate the potential health threat to firefighters. The methodology is based on measurements of radioactivity released by forest fuel materials using a combustion chamber.

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Why is it important?

It is necessary to analyze modern methods of prevention, detection, and firefighting technologies and to develop scientific recommendations to improve the efficiency of prevention of wildfires (especially large ones) including in the border territories of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Currently, there is no early warning system for the populations of villages located among forested lands to prepare them for protection of houses or to provide them with knowledge about personal protective equip ment that would help to avoid additional doses.

Perspectives

A major objective for further research is to develop a special decision supporting system based on the experimental dataof long-lived radionuclide behavior in the air during forest fires, spatial information on fire risks, and exposure dose prediction. Such a system would address the problem of protection of firefighters, the local population, and the environment through different implementation strategies at administrative and regional levels.

Dr Aliaksandr A. Dvornik
National academy of sciences of Belarus

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This page is a summary of: Potential threat to human health during forest fires in the Belarusian exclusion zone, Aerosol Science and Technology, June 2018, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/02786826.2018.1482408.
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