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CSU Researchers Using High-Tech Plane To Study Wildfires

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - A cargo plane loaded with a million dollars worth of equipment and Colorado scientists is prepped to study wildfire smoke.

WILDFIRE SMOKE FLIGHTS 6VO.transfer_frame_204

A professor from Colorado State University is heading up the mission.

Emily Fischer tells CBS4 the mission could be groundbreaking on a number of fronts from how smoke affects our health to how it impacts weather.


"Every part of the smoke is interacting differently with atmosphere and is changing differently in time so you really have to have this level of instrumentation to understand the whole picture of how the smoke is evolving," Fischer said.

It left for Idaho Friday morning - where it will spend the next six weeks chasing smoke - and snatching information right out of the air.

"The vast majority of instrumentation will air samples into the plane and in real time determine what the composition of the smoke is," Fischer said.


One goal is to find out how smoke interacts with clouds -- and if that can create weather.

The researchers will also look at how nitrogen is released -- that's what impacts our air quality.


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