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

Tuesday, 18 November 2003: 9:15 AM
FARSITE Weather Streams from the NWS IFPS System
Chris Gibson, NOAA/NWS, Salt Lake City, UT; and C. Gorski
Poster PDF (755.8 kB)
The National Weather Service (NWS) Interactive Forecast Preparation System (IFPS) is designed for creating and maintaining a comprehensive database of surface weather forecasts. The database in turn is the source for generating NWS forecast products. Software has been configured to create a set of forecasts compatible with the FARSITE fire area simulator developed at the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. FARSITE weather streams of temperature, relative humidity, sky cover, etc. are easily derived from the gridded IFPS database for a 5-7 day period. The IFPS FARSITE forecasts are automatically updated at least every 12 hours and more frequently if the forecast package and gridded database are updated. These IFPS FARSITE forecasts are consistent with the suite of NWS products since they are derived from the same gridded data.

The IFPS FARSITE forecasts are designed to be downloaded over the internet and easily used as input by the FARSITE program. Because the weather streams are routinely updated and available for different elevations, the Fire Behavior Analyst can quickly make multiple FARSITE runs using the latest forecasts. The forecasts can also be adjusted using a simple text editor for local conditions are based on local meteorological knowledge. This will allow rapid consecutive runs of FARSITE in "what-if" or "worst-case" scenarios. The IFPS FARSITE weather forecasts are derived for single, 2.5 km resolution IFPS grid points and can be chosen for different key areas and elevations of a prescribed or wild fire.

During the spring of 2003 a demonstration website was constructed where FARSITE formatted forecasts were derived from the NWS Salt Lake City IFPS database. A demonstration was conducted by creating IFPS FARSITE forecasts specifically for the Sanford Complex, a large fire which occurred in southern Utah during the summer of 2002. FARSITE forecasts have been developed for 9000 feet and 7500 feet in the area of the Sanford Fire.

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