Beale’s Bioenvironmental Team Makes National Impact Published June 13, 2023 By Master Sgt. Nancy Falcon 9th Reconnaissance Wing BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Canadian wildfires present unsafe conditions for people living along the East Coast due to poor air quality variables. The vast California wildfires are nothing new to Beale’s bioenvironmental engineering flight, which has given a helping hand to how these conditions can affect the human body and provide other bases needing of quick assistance. “We had never seen anything quite to this level and, as such, would have had to research and potentially recreate the wheel as far as health and safety guidance,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Carl, Joint Base MacGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, 87th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, superintendent, bioenvironmental engineering. “The Beale bio team picked up a cold call from us and were able to provide us not only with the air quality and work-rest cycles that they developed and incorporated into the Base Concept of Operations for mission continuation, but also lessons learned regarding how Beale adjusts its operations when dealing with air quality issues related to wildfires. They saved us hours of additional research necessary to apply ideal control measures for this situation.” Bioenvironmental conducts air quality index monitoring during wildfires and hazardous smoke that the fires generate to provide commanders with health risk assessments for their members so they can make informed decisions about their respective missions. Collaborative efforts have taken effect since the onset of the Canadian wildfires. The bioenvironmental team here has shared their internal air quality index (AQI) concept of operations with multiple units across the East Coast on how to properly monitor the PurpleAir sensors, base notification procedures, informational packets, and protocol measures. “We started corresponding with Minot [Air Force Base, North Dakota] in mid-May, with other bases proceeding including, Joint Base Andrews [Maryland] and Eielson [Air Force Base, Alaska], seeking immediate information to help their installation,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chloe Anthony, Beale AFB, bioenvironmental engineering flight chief. “We began connecting with the other bases via social media within the [Air Combat Command] Bioenvironmental Teams group, Bioenvironmental Engineering Facebook Group, and Career Field MilSuite known as the “BEE Hive” offering assistance and copies of the products that we have created at Beale.” Beale’s bio team developed a robust program from the 2020 wildfire season to ensure they are ready to tackle the notorious fires of Northern California. Their continuous efforts in gathering data and updating internal operations created opportunities for interoperability with other bases to provide them with a strong foundation to build their products and policies, most of which were generated from ground zero. “Coordinating with other bases helped to arm their wing commanders with tried-and-true products for force health protection measures and mission operations,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Somvang Xayarath, Beale AFB, bioenvironmental engineering flight commander. “We advised with recommendations for when to suspend fitness tests, gate closure operations, mission sortie generation and awareness notifications to base personnel and the general public.” Bases such as JBMDL has benefited from Beale’s meticulous records. The JBMDL bio team have experience dealing with wildfires but nothing comparable to the magnitude of the Canadian wildfires. “The Beale team was instrumental in supporting a few bases on the East Coast during the recent wildfire,” said Carl. “Specifically, here at Joint Base MacGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the air quality did not start to reach hazardous levels until later, prompting many questions from base leaders as to what operations and activities may need to be modified or curtailed, particularly for our defenders who man our entry control points.” Beale’s bio team saved a lot of manhours for other bases by connecting with them daily to help them get their bases to a stable point where they can operate efficiently, effectively and safely. Please visit https://www.beale.af.mil/Home/Beale-Fire-and-Local-Area-Information/ for more information on the Beale local area environmental conditions.