2.2 What Would the Ideal Fire Weather Index Look Like?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015: 11:00 AM
Great Lakes Ballroom (Crowne Plaza Minneapolis Northstar)
Scott Goodrick, USDA Forest Service, Athens, GA; and B. E. Potter, J. J. Charney, and A. F. Srock

The fire weather community has numerous weather related indices that attempt to describe how meteorological conditions may impact wildland fire behavior. In essence these indices attempt to reduce a complex phenomena down to a much simpler description, often a single number. There are many advantages to using an index such as ease of communication and comparison; however, the simplifying nature of an index may not be able to capture critical details. Operating under the assumption that the perfect fire weather index does not exist at this time, we explore what an ideal fire weather index should look like. The framework for this exploration assumes that an effective index should possess certain characteristics: Relevancy - shows you something about the system that you need to know; Simplicity - easy to understand, even by people who are not experts; Reliability - you can trust the information that the indicator is providing; and Accessibility - based on accessible data; the information is available or can be gathered while there is still time to act.
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