This month the city of Boise in Idaho will host the largest research project on wildfire smoke ever attempted. Scientists from several different state and federal agencies and universities will come together to work at measuring the composition of wildfire smoke in real time, using two government aircraft to collect samples. The study will be called WE-Can, for Western Wildfire Experiment for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol Absorption and Nitrogen. This exactly the type of study most chemistry students salivate over; even if they need chemistry homework help here and there.

Funding comes from the National Science Foundation.

Researchers from a total of five American universities will investigate wildfire smoke particulates from the cockpit of an airplane, hoping to further their understanding of the composition and toxicity of wildfire smoke. They are especially interested to see if there is any correlation between the massive amounts of wildfire smoke recently released into the atmosphere and global warming. Boise was chosen as the research headquarters because scientists have determined it is the central terminus for the largest and longest lasting wildfires in the Western United States.

The scientist plane a total of at least 20 flights over wildfire areas in Idaho, Washington state, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Northern California. The research unit will remain in Boise until the end of the month.   

Researchers expect to have a final report on the data collected by June of 2019.

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