419 2015 Extreme Wildfire Events in Canada and Smoke Forecasts with the FireWork System

Monday, 11 January 2016
Radenko Pavlovic, EC, Dorval, QC, Canada; and P. A. Beaulieu, H. Landry, S. Cousineau, M. D. Moran, and S. Gravel

The 2015 summer season in western Canada was exceptionally dry with extremely intense wildfires. Parts of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia experienced one of the worst wildfire season in recent history.

Since 2014, the Canadian Meteorological Centre Operations (CMCO) has been running the FireWork system, which is an air quality forecast system for North America with near-real-time wildfire emissions. FireWork 48-hour forecasts have been provided to CMCO operational forecasters and external partners in Canada and the U.S. twice a day from runs starting at 00 UTC and 12 UTC. This system has proven to be very useful. Case studies done for the summer of 2015 showed noticeable improvements in PM2.5 forecasts. FireWork also demonstrated an ability to capture both short- and long-term smoke advection from wildfires in western Canada to the rest of the continent.

Several upgrades to the FireWork system were made in 2015 to accommodate the needs of operational AQ forecasters and to improve system performance. In this talk we will present some FireWork performance statistics and some case studies from the 2015 wildfire season in Canada. We will also describe ongoing and future work planned for the FireWork system based on lessons learned during the 2015 wildfire season.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner