As part of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) response in 2010, many response methods and tactical protocols were used to optimize spilled oil removal. One of the more successful response methods was controlled in-situ burning (CISB), which removed between 220,000 and 310,000 bbl of oil from the Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Department of the Interior, the US Environmental Protection Agency, et al. CISB technical experts refined best practices, tailoring them to the specifics of the response to help ensure the most accurate data could be gathered regarding, for example, burn times and locations. The entire process, called the Burn Volume Estimation Protocol, involved ASTM International standards for estimating the volume of oil burned. This protocol proved to be vital in maintaining a consistent approach while communicating the efficacy of the CISB efforts. A "Best in Practice" approach to controlled burn volume estimation during the DWH response operations required the coordinated effort of teams at the scene both offshore and in aerial surveillance aircraft. Responders, using two-way radio communication for field data collection, were able to provide an accurate picture of CISB operations to the Command Center. To account for potential variations of stable emulsions within the oil collected in the U-configured fire boom system, CISB technical advisors used a minimum and maximum burn volume equation. Volume estimation calculations could then be confirmed at the Command Center using photographs, sketches, and field notes from the offshore and aerial operations teams. This paper provides the refined best practices for estimating burn volumes during offshore CISB operations.

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