5th Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology and the 2nd International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress

Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 11:30 AM
Effects of Near-Surface Atmospheric Stability and Moisture on Wildfire Behavior and Consequences for Haines Index
Ruiyu Sun, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and M. A. Jenkins
Poster PDF (203.8 kB)
Studies have shown that the Haines Index is a useful indicator of the potential for high-risk wildfires. However, sometimes it breaks down. Jenkins (2002) suggested that there is a range of atmospheric stability and moisture conditions that is important to the development of severe or erratic wildfire behavior. This range is within the atmospheric stability and moisture conditions represented by a Haines index for high potential for severe wildfire (Haines Index=6), which suggests that the Haines Index should be further divided or refined.

The purpose of this study is to extend the work by Jenkins (2002), and to investigate more thoroughly how near-surface environmental stability and moisture, for a Haines Index for high potential for severe wildfire, influences fire behavior. Clark's coupled wildfire-atmospheric model has been used to simulate at least 15 model wildfires.We will present our analyses of the model output to compare each simulation to examine the effects of near-surface atmospheric stability and moisture on the wildfire behavior. Our results suggest that near surface moisture does not have a significant effect on wildfire behavior, but stability does. Erratic wildfires tend to occur in neutral and slightly unstable atmosphere.

Supplementary URL: http://www.met.utah.edu/skrueger/homepages/rsun/animation.html