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

Wednesday, 19 November 2003: 4:30 PM
Fire Modeling and Weather Analysis on the White Mountain National Forest
Rick D. Stratton, Systems for Environmental Management, Missoula, MT; and T. Brady
This presentation summarizes the historic fire occurrence, weather, and fire modeling analyses conducted on the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). The WMNF is currently revising its Forest Plan; one proposed amendment is to incorporate wildland fire use for resource benefit in its five wilderness areas. Fire ignition data was obtained from the National Interagency Fire Management Integrated Database (NIFMID) (USDA 1993), using the Kansas City Fire Access Software (KCFAST), fire occurrence information retrieval site (USDA 1996). Twelve years (1991-2002) of lightning flash data (cloud-to-ground discharges) were obtained from Vaisala-GAI (Global Atmospherics, Inc.) of Tucson, Arizona (GAI 1996). Historical weather information was downloaded from NIFMID/KCFAST, fire occurrence information retrieval site and imported into Fire Family Plus (Bradshaw and McCormick 2000), using data from the White Mountain National Forest, Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS). RAWS information was combined with percentile weather information from Fire Family to develop the required weather, fuel moisture, and wind inputs for FARSITE. The Rare Event Risk Assessment Process (RERAP) (USDA 2000) was used to develop two Weibull waiting-time distributions or termination events: one a fire-ending event for the spring fire season, the other a season-ending event for the fall fire season. FARSITE (Fire Area Simulator; Finney 1998) was used to model hypothetical fires under three fall environmental scenarios: the 60th (low), 80th (moderate), and 97th (severe) percentile. Fire placement was based on historically high lightning-caused fire areas and supplemented with the lightning flash data. Results of the analyses provide managers with historic fire, weather, and fire modeling information needed, in part, for justification and implementation of a wildland fire use program on the Forest.

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