One application generates fire weather forecasts for 48 fire weather zones in Alaska out to 7 days based upon:
1. The existing public zone forecast in the 48 zones out to 7 days which is the source for weather (clouds, precipitation), maximum and minimum temperature, and the wind speed and direction. The wind speed and direction is available only for the first day.
2. Gridded model and model sounding forecasts to provide forecast elements not included in the public zone forecast: minimum relative humidity, lightning activity level based upon a calculated K index, wind speed and direction at 20 feet for all days, 24-hour trend in temperature and humidity, Haines index (convective stability plus 850 hectaPascal spread between temperature and dewpoint), mixing height, and boundary layer transport wind.
The application, automatically launched when the public zone forecast is disseminated, processes the public zone forecasts, processes the model information, and formats all of the information into the standard fire weather forecast. Fire weather forecasters then review and modify the automated forecast for final distribution to the Alaska Fire Service (AFS) and the web.
A second AWIPS application automatically generates forecast elements at selected sites -- minimum relative humidity, maximum temperature, wind speed -- for the AFS to calculate their Fire Weather Index. The AFS includes values for observed precipitation and fuel moisture to complete the calculation of the Index.
A third AWIPS application automatically generates graphic fire weather briefing products from model and observation data which are posted to the web and serve as the briefing material for the daily AFS statewide fire situation teleconference.
A fourth AWIPS application provides the forecast trajectories of smoke particles from wildfires based upon the forecast from an atmospheric particle dispersion and tracking model called PUFF. The 4-dimensional forecast wind field which supports the PUFF model forecasts is selectable from model data in the AWIPS database – eta, AVN, MRF, etc. PUFF model results showing the path and altitude of the smoke are displayable as a graphic loop.
The fire weather forecast, briefing products, and PUFF forecasts are available for viewing at www.alaska.net/~nwsar/html/firewx/firewx.html.