Fourth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology

Thursday, 15 November 2001: 8:00 AM
Automated, Real-Time Predictions of Cumulative Smoke Impacts from Prescribed Forest and Agricultural Fires
Sue A. Ferguson, USDA Forest Service, Seattle, WA; and J. Peterson and A. Acheson
Poster PDF (294.9 kB)
Smoke management problems are becoming increasingly complex as the number of fires used to preserve or maintain forest health and reduce hazardous fuels is increasing and as smoke from forests and rangelands is combining with smoke from traditional agricultural fires to compete for airshed rights. As the cumulative smoke impacts cross state and federal boundaries to affect regional haze, visibility, and human health and other air-quality related values, land management and air-regulation is becoming increasingly complex. Although smoke dispersion models have been available for a number of years, they either are too complicated to be run operationally or too simple to be realistic. In addition, few land management agencies have required skills to effectively run and analyze models. Therefore, their use has been of limited value in the day-to-day management of smoke.

To address the problem of managing smoke from the large variety of biomass fires that occur daily, we have organized a multi-agency project to develop a web-based smoke-modeling framework. The system is automated, reducing impacts on users. It has the capability to use any state-of-the-art component for determining weather, fuel load, fuel consumption, emissions, and dispersion. It is run daily for both planned and accomplished burns. Output is available through ArcIMS, an Internet mapping software that allows users to interrogate the mapped data.

A prototype in the northwestern U.S. includes the FASTRACS fuel inventory system, CONSUME fuel consumption model, EPM emission production model, CalPuff dispersion model, and MM5 meteorological model. In addition, a PC version is being planned, a wildfire case study is underway, and a strategy for national application is being developed.

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