Gas-phase pyrolysis products emitted by prescribed fires in pine forests with a shrub understory in the southeastern United States
In this study we identify pyrolysis gases from prescribed burns conducted in pine forests with a shrub understory captured using a manual extraction device. The device selectively sampled emissions ahead of the flame front, minimizing the collection of oxidized gases, with the captured gases analyzed in the laboratory using infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy. Results show that emission ratios (ERs) relative to CO for ethene and acetylene were significantly greater than in previous fire studies, suggesting that the sample device was able to collect gases predominantly generated prior to ignition. Further evidence that ignition had not begun was corroborated by novel IR detections of several species, in particular naphthalene. With regards to oxygenated species, several aldehydes (acrolein, furaldehyde, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde) and carboxylic acids (formic, acetic) were all observed; results show that ERs for acetaldehyde were noticeably greater, while ERs for formaldehyde and acetic acid were lower compared to other studies. The acetylene-to-furan ratio also suggests that high-temperature pyrolysis was the dominant process generating the collected gases.