Air Resource Advisor, THSP

Position Category: 
Incident Positions
Position Code: 
Functional Area: 
Coordination & Support
AD Class: 


This position is an expert in air quality and smoke dispersion science in order to assess wildland fire smoke risks and impacts.  This expertise includes:  monitoring, modeling interpretation, data analysis, and regulatory compliance and computer simulation modeling.  During wildfire events when smoke is a concern, an Air Resource Advisor’s objective is to provide timely smoke impact and forecast information and messaging that are based on best available science.  An Air Resource Advisor works with multiple agencies to address public health concerns, smoke risk to transportation safety, and firefighter exposure.


  • Addresses specific wildland smoke needs at incidents or at various levels within the Geographic Area Coordination Center jurisdiction. 
  • Monitors air quality to determine effects on public and firefighter health and safety.  Working as a technical specialist (THSP) for the Incident Management Team (IMT) either solely or supervising other Air Resource Advisors – THSP (Task Group) carries out air quality monitoring and reporting on incidents. 
  • At times works directly with State Air Regulators or Health Departments in determining impacts from smoke and associated air pollutants.  An Air Resource Advisor’s work activities necessitate interactions with many different IMT members.  This usually includes FBAN and IMET in estimating fuel consumption and interpreting weather forecasts in order to develop smoke production estimates and identification of smoke dispersion impact areas. 
  • Works directly with Liaison, Public Information and Safety Officers in developing smoke mitigation plans to address firefighter exposure, downwind impacts to smoke sensitive areas and transportation corridor safety.  Transportation corridor assessments can include briefings for State and Local law enforcement, Department of Transportation and Emergency Management agencies on predictions of nighttime smoke impacts.  This facilitates a coordinated and integrated multiple agency response for highway hazards.  Smoke intelligence also provides information in determining optimal burnout windows for Operations Section.
  • Develops a schedule based on incident management objectives in order to provide timely and accurate smoke intelligence that addresses risk and supports decisions.
  • Establishes, coordinates and maintains appropriate contact within IMT whereby Command and General Staff and other key IMT positions are supported.  Participate at planning and command and general staff meetings and others as needed.
  • Develops a network and routinely collect and exchange smoke information within IMT (e.g., Operations personnel, Meteorologist, Fire Behavior Analyst, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, Public Information, Field Observer, Fire Effects and other specialists pertinent to the incident) and partnering agencies to assure accurate information is disseminated (e.g., public meetings, Inciweb, smoke blogs, etc).
  • Produces products and provides support for decision making and planning for time specified periods (e.g., input for:  Incident Action Plan [IAP], wildland fire decision support – WFDSS documentation, burnout operations, addressing optimum smoke dispersion, etc).
  • Interprets weather forecasts, fire behavior predictions, and smoke dispersion prediction models, in the development of decision support products to evaluate smoke management impacts, Incident Site Specific – smoke drift maps, transportation, EBAM/ESAMPLER station observations, corridor, visibility statements, NWS NOAA radio statements and special weather statements (FPS), smoke mitigation plan or appropriate product, cumulative wildfire effects, air quality index projections, plum projection maps or appropriate products; obtain and/or provide smoke dispersion predictions concerning road visibility, super-fog events, downwind smoke sensitive areas or population centers.
  • Recognizes and notifies incident personnel of special conditions that promote extreme smoke conditions for firefighter personnel, transportation corridors and downwind smoke sensitive areas.
  • Monitors smoke emissions for health, safety, and transportation visibility impairment as required by the incident.  Monitors smoke column and dispersion (use of FOBS, DIVS, SOFR, etc).  Recognizes emission problems and recommend applicable mitigation measures.  Deployment of fire cache ESAMPLERS, EBAMS, CO dosimeters (communities, base, and spike camp).
  • Maintains communications (e.g., air quality regulators, National Weather Service, weather observers, lookouts).  Coordinate Special Weather Statements, Dense Fog Advisory, NOAA Radio Broadcast, and AQI maps for AQ agencies.
  • Participates in public meetings to address current and project air quality impacts.
  • Provides public safety, law enforcement, emergency management and state transportation departments with projected smoke impacts to alert and warn motorists of smoke and unsafe driving conditions.

Position Knowledge and/or Requirements

  • Expert knowledge of fire behavior, fuels, fire emissions, meteorology, air quality impacts and mitigation. 
  • The position involves high skill level in running and interpreting models for predicting smoke emissions, smoke dispersion and downwind concentration levels.
  • Individuals filling this position have higher level educational degrees and/or have gone through extensive training, acquiring extensive experience in air quality and/or smoke management. 
  • Is qualified to be a lead instructor for 400 and 500 level fire courses (i.e., RX-410, M-580, M-581, etc.).
  • Possesses experience and skill necessary to work directly with State and EPA Air Regulators.
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