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Smoke Sense Data Visualization Tool

Welcome to the Smoke Sense Data Visualization Tool!

Smoke Sense graphic identifier, with AQI colors.

What is Smoke Sense?

Smoke Sense is a research project that enables  citizen scientists to engage with a mobile phone application to explore current and forecast maps of air quality, learn about how to protect health from wildfire smoke, and record their smoke experiences, health symptoms, and behaviors taken to reduce their exposures to smoke.

The Smoke Sense app is available as a free download on the Google Play™ store and the Apple App Store™.  Smoke Sense app users participate anonymously, and their identities are not captured. 

To learn more about the project, visit the Smoke Sense home page.

What is the Smoke Sense Data Visualization Tool?

When the skies are filled with smoke, people can often see or smell the impact in the immediate affected area. But it is harder to “see” the size of the impacted area, where the smoke plume is traveling, how many people are experiencing symptoms from smoke exposure, and what kinds of actions they take in response to changing conditions.

The Smoke Sense Data Visualization Tool displays data that citizen scientists reported in the app related to the impacts of wildfire smoke. With the tool, you can view graphics showing:

  • Number of Participants by date
  • Where participants report smoke and health observations
  • How people are engaging with Smoke Sense
  • Reported physical and behavioral responses to smoke
  • Participants’ perspectives on the value of taking actions to be prepared during future smoke events

Data used in these graphics provide near-real time visualizations updated every 6 hours and have not yet been examined for quality and consistency. Use this information to get an immediate picture of what Smoke Sense citizen scientists across the country are reporting. For more information, questions, or specific issues, email us at SmokeSense@epa.gov

How do I navigate the Smoke Sense Data Visualization Tool?

The graphics are interactive, allowing you to hover for additional information. Click and drag along the horizontal axis to zoom into a period. You can filter reports by one or more states and by week using the filter option in the first graphic, and all the following graphics will update with the selection. To clear your selections, choose the “Show All Data/Clear Filters” button in the top left menu of any graphic. Not all participants filled out all reports, so filtering may not produce results. To export data, right-click on the graphic. For a copy of any graphic please email us at SmokeSense@epa.gov.

 

The Smoke Sense Community Continues to Grow

The Smoke Sense community grows in response to large wildfire smoke events. During smoke events, Smoke Sense helps citizen scientists understand where smoke is coming from, what it means for their health, and what actions they can take to reduce their exposure.

The graphic below shows the cumulative number of citizen scientists using Smoke Sense since the launch of the pilot study in August 2017. The graphic shows noticeable increases in participation during large wildfire smoke events, such as the Mendocino Complex Fire in August 2018 and the Camp Fire in November 2018.

You can click and drag along the horizontal axis to zoom into a period and right-click to export data. You can filter reports by state using the filter pane located at the top of this graphic, and all graphics will consequently display data for the chosen state.

The Smoke Sense Community Reports Observations from All 50 States and Puerto Rico

Smoke Sense participants report from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Although various areas around the country participate throughout the year, greater numbers of participants are reporting from western states where the largest wildfires occurred in 2018. Participants also use the app when travelling to keep up to date on when and where they may experience poor air quality.

The graphic below shows reporting locations among Smoke Sense citizen scientists.  Hover over the graphic to view the number of users in each state.

To filter results for your state, use the filter in the first graphic. You can clear your selection by clicking the “Show All Data/Clear Filters” button in the top menu.  

Smoke Sense Citizen Scientists Engage in Multiple Ways: as Explorers, Learners, and Observers

Participants engage with the app and earn unique badges each week as Explorers, Learners and Observers. Participants earn the “Explorer” badge when checking their air quality in the “Fire and Smoke Near Me” feature of the app; the “Learner” badge when visiting the “Air Quality 101” feature; and the “Observer” badge when reporting smoke and health observations. By using these Smoke Sense functions and becoming an active citizen scientist, everyone can earn a badge while adding to what we know about air pollution, the effects of smoke, and what people do to reduce exposure.

The graphic below shows that the highest percentage of users earn their badges during and directly after a fire. Most users engage with the app by exploring “Fire and Smoke Near Me” features. A smaller portion of users engage in learning and reporting observations.

Click and drag along the horizontal axis to zoom into a period and right-click to export data. To filter results for your state, use the filter in the first graphic.

Smoke Sense Citizen Scientists Report Their Responses to Smoke

Smoke Sense citizen scientists report health symptoms and actions taken to reduce their exposure or address their health. The graphic below shows the range of health symptoms reported when impacted by smoke, immediately and in weeks following the exposure.

Actions participants have taken when they experience smoke are also shown. The rings reveal the portion of all reported symptoms or actions that fall in each category. Note that each report can contain multiple symptoms.

The largest share of reported symptoms is  related to eyes, throat, nose, sinuses, and respiratory impacts. But feeling tired or dizzy, having trouble sleeping, anxiety, and more severe respiratory and cardiac impacts were reported as well. Most of the actions taken relate to reducing exposure, either to delay activities outdoors or reduce the time spent outdoors. Actions related to improving indoor air quality or responding to symptoms, such as taking medication or seeing a doctor, were reported to a lesser extent.

Hover over the graphic to see more information, and right-click to export data. Data represented in this graphic is state-level and not specific to any selected zip code(s). To filter results for your state, use the filter in the first graphic.

Smoke Sense Citizen Scientists Report It Is Worth Taking Action

Participants overwhelmingly reported that it is worth taking actions to reduce exposure and protect personal health. The graphic below shows how many members of the Smoke Sense community believe taking action to reduce smoke exposure and protect one’s health is worth the effort.

Hover over the graphic to see more information and right-click to export data. Data represented in this graphic is state-level and not specific to any selected zip code(s). To filter results for your state, use the filter in the first graphic.

With growing participation and the contribution of citizen scientists, we can develop new features, information, and graphics. We want to hear from you. Write to us at SmokeSense@epa.gov. Feel free to share a graphic with others by right-clicking on the chart and helping the community grow.