12 Analysis of Weather Conditions and Smoke for 2002 Biscuit Fire in Southwest Oregon

Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Meeting Room 2 (Holiday Inn University Plaza)
Marlin Martinez, USDA, Seattle, WA; and B. E. Potter and S. O'Neill

Handout (7.0 MB)

A series of lightning storms ignited five fires in the Siskiyou Mountains in Southwest Oregon starting on July 13, 2002. Within days the fires joined together. The fire burned for two months across almost half a million acres of wildland and communities. Estimated cost to control and suppress the fire amounted to $150 million and a work force of more than 7,000 people constructed over 400 miles of fireline in order to control and suppress the fire. An analysis of the weather conditions and the smoke emissions from the Biscuit Fire was performed in a two-phase case study research. First, a meteorological reconstruction of the weather observed during the fire event was accomplished. This analysis took into consideration available synoptic analyses, mesoscale meteorological data, and on-site meteorological observations during the fire. Second, a re-creation analysis of the smoke behavior, emissions and effects was performed through the use of the BlueSky Smoke Modeling Framework and the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) dispersion model. The first phase analysis included collecting detailed information regarding the fire location, fire progression, and growth, enabling the creation of three different ignition pattern scenarios. The detailed fire progression analysis was used as input to BlueSky, to investigate how greater detailed fire ignition and progression information impacts smoke concentrations near-surface and aloft. This analysis is intended to clarify the variability and uncertainty in emissions impacts resulting from uncertainty in input variables and model assumptions. Results will aid managers on the planning of strategies to protect health, life and properties.
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