USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 883-8830

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics

Fire Science: Forecasting Fire Weather

^ Main Topic | CRAFT | Imaging | Forecasting Fire Weather | Managing Fire and Fuels | Masticated Fuel | Social Aspects of Fire

Good fire management planning requires fire weather predictions on several time scales ranging from hours to months. Fire weather forecasts of expected conditions beyond a few days, however, are generally unavailable. We have been conducting research necessary to extend fire weather forecasts. Using a combination of statistical and dynamic physical models, our research aims to provide forecast tools for the medium-range (daily forecasts out to 10-15 days), extended-range (30 days), and for seasons (90 days). Because the accuracy of weather forecasts varies with season, location, and parameter, we are exploring methods of presenting forecast reliability maps within the forecast package.

We are also doing research to describe fire weather conditions on a spatial scale that approaches the requirements for fire behavior modeling. We employed a nested grid model, which scales large weather patterns down to smaller dimensions, where complex terrain variations have a profound effect. A nested grid model can accurately reflect details of terrain, and therefore the finer variations of weather. Such a model was used to describe small scale wind circulation across the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Climate Change Descriptions:

Many of the technical aspects of the long range fire weather forecasting problem are common to the climate facet of the global change problem. Our research also is aimed at describing regional scenarios of climate change within the larger global context. One of our major objectives is to obtain succinct mathematical descriptions of time/space variations of fire climate and then portray these dynamics graphically on a computer. Ultimately, the information will be used to determine the impacts of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems.

Research conducted by:
Last Modified: Mar 9, 2015 11:54:58 AM