Thursday, 20 November 2003: 8:00 AM
Fire Consortia for Advanced Modeling of Meteorology and Smoke—FCAMMS: A National Paradigm for Wildland Fire and Smoke Management
Under the National Fire Plan, USDA Forest Service has established five cooperative modeling centers or consortia for the purpose of leading the development and application of advanced meteorological, fire, and smoke management tools. The FCAMMS, located so as to serve all areas of the continental United States, share a common objective of providing real time, higher resolution weather simulations for use by the fire intelligence, fire fighting and smoke management communities. FCAMMS provide regional simulations of current conditions and up to 48 hours of simulated future conditions of such weather and weather-dependent phenomena as fire danger, fire behavior indices and smoke distributions at resolutions of 12 Km (many areas at 4 Km). Unique features of the FCAMMS are their blending of research and operational partnerships while demonstrating the development of a new pattern for collaborative fire management. In this paper we describe the reasoning behind establishing the FCAMMS and using the consortium approach. As a business model for implementing high technology into fire management, the FCAMMS approach was selected for many reasons, but the complexity and costs of obtaining input data for weather simulations and the complexity of the models themselves were strong motivating factors. Thus, FCAMMS were designed to build broad partnerships among the fire weather, fire research and air quality regulatory communities while ultimately transferring better technologies to fire managers at fire sites. The paper also reviews progress made to date in the FCAMMS national effort. Specific examples of weather, fire and air quality products developed by the FCAMMS are presented along with discussion of how they are used and how effective they have been in helping fire fighters and smoke managers.