Thursday, 15 November 2001: 9:00 AM
Operational Weather Support for Fire Management at the DOE's Savannah River Site
The U. S. Forest Service - Savannah River (USFS) provides wildland fire management at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS). Recently, USFS has begun to utilize an existing meteorological forecast office at SRS for operational weather support including twice-daily fire weather forecasts and access to real-time meteorological observations from an onsite network of instrumented towers. In addition, the SRS meteorology group conducts operational runs of a prognostic mesoscale model tailored for the local area. Output from this model is used for forecast guidance, smoke transport simulations, and investigations of unusual events related to fire/smoke plume behavior. The use of local meteorological knowledge and the availability of advanced meteorological resources that can be customized to meet local needs provides a unique opportunity for improvements in the planning and conduct of prescribed fires and determining resource allocation for wildfire preparedness and response. This paper will describe the rationale for establishing a local fire weather capability and development of the operational program. Examples of more detailed investigations into several non-routine fire weather events will also be presented.