J2.2 OK-FIRE: A weather-based decision support system for wildland fire managers in Oklahoma

Tuesday, 23 October 2007: 10:45 AM
The Turrets (Atlantic Oakes Resort)
J. D. Carlson, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK; and R. Jabrzemski, S. Blackburn, and J. M. Wolfinbarger

Funded by a three-year grant from the Joint Fire Science Program, “OK-FIRE” is a weather-based decision support system which is being developed for and tested by wildland fire managers throughout Oklahoma and some surrounding states. Project participants include the USDA Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, Oklahoma Forestry Services Division, and The Nature Conservancy. Programming support and web site development is provided by the Oklahoma Climatological Survey in Norman, Oklahoma.

Using the Oklahoma Mesonet of 115+ automated weather stations as a basis for current and past conditions and 84-h forecast output from the National Weather Service's NAM model for future conditions, OK-FIRE has a three-fold emphasis: (1) an expanded suite of real-time products for fire weather, fire danger, and smoke dispersion; (2) a dedicated OK-FIRE wildland fire management web site to act as the delivery mechanism for the above products; and (3) regional training and customer support activities for the user groups involved.

Fire danger products are based on the Oklahoma Fire Danger Model, which is an implementation of the National Fire Danger Rating System to an automated weather station network platform (the Oklahoma Mesonet). The next-generation Nelson dead fuel moisture model is also being utilized. Smoke dispersion products utilize output from the Oklahoma Dispersion Model for estimates of near-surface dispersion conditions and National Weather Service forecasts of ventilation rate for estimates of boundary-layer dispersion. OK-FIRE fire weather, fire danger, and smoke dispersion products incorporate 84-h forecast output from the North American Model (NAM), which now utilizes the 12-km WRF non-hydrostatic mesoscale model. Current/recent products, based on Oklahoma Mesonet data, are updated as follows: fire weather products (every 5 minutes), dispersion model products (every 15 minutes), and fire danger products (every hour). 84-h forecast output is incorporated four times a day, using the 00Z, 06Z, 12Z, and 18Z runs of the NAM.

OK-FIRE products utilize a browser plug-in (WxScope) developed at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Three venues are available for both current/recent products and forecast products: (1) dynamic maps of Oklahoma, capable of zooming, animation, and road/lake overlays; (2) site-specific charts (e.g., meteograms, firegrams); and (3) site-specific tables.

The debut of the OK-FIRE web site and its associated products occurred in September 2006. This was followed by eight regional computer lab training sessions around the state (September through November) in which a total of about 100 wildland fire personnel from the above agencies participated. The web site and products are currently being beta-tested by these fire managers.

The presentation will discuss the OK-FIRE project and its products, and, time and facility permitting, include a live demonstration of the web site.

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