UM research team to fly gadget into wildfire smoke, for research

MISSOULA – Wildfires in Montana are nothing new.

Last year, the Treasure State saw a bad fire season with more than 114,000 acres burned.

In an attempt to better understand how wildfires may affect weather, climate and even health, a group of University of Montana scientists will fly directly into the smoke of a wildfire.

UM, assistant professor of chemistry, Lu Hu,  and graduate students will spend 150 hours in the air above smoke plumes.

The team of researchers will use an instrument that will provide real-time measurements of volatile organic compounds in wildfire smoke. These compounds are typically toxic and can form ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter.