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In-situ Burn Workshop for Straits of Mackinac

SEPTEMBER 15, 2017--On August 30, Regional Response Team (RRT) Region 5 held a site specific in-situ burn (ISB) workshop in Mackinaw City, Michigan.

Smoke rising from large body of water.
In-situ burn emissions observed from an overflight during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. Image credit: NOAA.

The goal of the workshop was to discuss the feasibility of in-situ burning as a response technique in the Great Lakes region, specifically the Straits of Mackinac.

Participants included federal, state, and local agencies and industry.

Primary issues addressed were:

  • Environmental conditions at the time of the spill that would be acceptable to allow a burn.
  • Acquisition of a fire boom for the region and the time needed to deploy the boom in the event of a spill.
  • Process to receive an emergency declaration from the State of Michigan Governor to use ISB.
  • Deployment of air monitoring equipment and the levels of concern. 
  • Impacts on threatened and endangered species in the area, specifically Piping Plover.
  • Tradeoffs of using ISB versus using other response techniques.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that in-situ burning is a viable response option for the scenario that was presented during the meeting. However, there were several follow-up items that needed to be addressed before RRT approval for ISB use for an actual spill.  

For further information, contact Michael.E.Doig@noaa.gov.

Return to OR&R Weekly Report.