597 Evaluating the Severe Fire Weather Potential Index for Determining Initial Attack Success in Washington

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Joshua M Clark, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA; and W. M. Jolly

Statistical tools for assessing and communicating fire danger and potential to operational fire managers help reduce complex weather, fuels, and fire behavior metrics into a categorical representation of the fire environment. These tools are necessary to ensure timely allocation and prioritization of firefighting assets for emerging wildfire, especially when multiple incidents in the region result in scarce resources. One of these tools, the new Severe Fire Weather Potential Index (SFWPI), considers energy release component (available energy within the flaming front) and burning index (difficulty of fire control) values to provide a seven-day forecast for operational decision-making. The SFWPI is normalized to percentiles based on a 37-year climatology of NFDRS fire weather observations at 4 km and downscaled to a 2.5 km resolution for use with the NDFD CONUS grid. The resulting percentiles are assigned categorical values ranging from low to severe for easier interpretation. In this study, the SFWPI will be considered alongside a ten-year record of Washington fires to determine a correlation between the parameter and the success chance in preventing escaped fires that lead to large, costly incidents.  
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