Thursday, 15 November 2001: 1:50 PM
Developing the Fire Potential Index Model into an operational planning tool
Land and fire managers rely on accurate, timely information on fire ignition potential to plan for early and successful fire containment. The Fire Potential Index (FPI) was initially developed in 1997 by scientists at the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, then refined in collaboration with USGS EROS Data Center scientists and tested by the Bureau of Land Management. It characterizes fire ignition potential for forests, rangelands and grasslands, so land managers can develop plans for minimizing fire threat. The FPI model combines satellite data with geographic information system technology to generate 1-km resolution fire potential maps for the conterminous US and Alaska. The index is updated daily to reflect changing weather conditions and is posted by the USFS on their Web site as an experimental product. The FPI model has been used in daily decision-making processes by fire planners and managers in several western States, Alaska, and within Europe to supplement traditional information sources. Based on their feedback and recent technological advances we hypothesize that the FPI model performance can be optimized, by 1) improving the kind of weather information and how that information is used by it, 2) calibrating its dead fuel moisture variable to better represent ecosystems fuels, and 3) conducting research on converting the basis of the algorithm from 1-km AVHRR to 500 meter MODIS image data. By the end of our study, we plan to have an operational improved FPI model that provides an immediate FPI with a 18-36 h forecast FPI. We will have an experimental mid- to long- term trend (weekly, monthly, yearly) for fire potential. A technology transfer effort is also planned.