1154 Wildfire Smoke Forecasts Associated with the 2014−2015 Puʻu ʻōʻō Lava Flows

Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Andre Pattantyus, Univ. of Hawai, Honolulu, HI; and L. Holland, S. Businger, and T. Elias

The 2014-2015 lava flows emanating from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent on Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i, caused acres of tropical forest and grassland to burn, as they flowed towards the town of Pāhoa. This caused poor air quality across the lower Puna district and occasionally as far away as the city of Hilo. In an effort to assist Hawaii Civil Defense and the Hawaii State Department of Health, the University of Hawai‘i’s (Vog Measurement and Prediction Model (VMAP) was utilized to produce forecasts for wildfire smoke initiated by the lava flows.

Input parameters for the smoke forecasts were updated based on daily U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) location and extent of lava on the active flow field. Updated flow field maps showing the extent of the lava flow advancement were used to provide fire locations, and size. Based on these maps we estimated the fuel load. All of the aforementioned parameters were used in the model. The fuel type was approximated by surface vegetation type and the fuel amount was determined by the areal coverage of new lava. The area and fuel load were fed into the United States Department of Agriculture’s VSMOKE web app at weather.gfc.state.ga.us/GoogleVsmoke/vsmoke-Good2.html to estimate the particulate emission rate in grams per second. In this presentation, smoke forecasts are qualitatively compared to PM2.5 measurements collected by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health in the communities of Mt. View, Pāhoa, and Hilo.

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