You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Advancing Understanding of Atmospheric Interactions with Wildfires

Fire spread and smoke transport through forest vegetation, as shown in this photograph of a prescribed burn in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, can be influenced by atmospheric turbulence (wind gusts). Forest ServiceSnapshot : Through partnerships with San Jose State University, Michigan State University, and the Silas Little Experimental Forest, modeling and experimental research has led to an improved understanding of the role that air turbulence can play in affecting wildfires and smoke in different regions of the U.S.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Heilman, Warren E. 
Research Location : Pine Barrens of New Jersey
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 213

Summary

The environment surrounding wildfires can be dangerous for firefighters and those in surrounding areas because of erratic fire behavior, and smoke that spreads out from fires can worsen local and regional air quality. The manner in which fires spread and smoke moves away from fires depends to a large degree on ambient air turbulence (wind gusts), and turbulence generated by the fires. Through partnerships with San Jose State University, Michigan State University, and the Silas Little Experimental Forest, modeling and experimental research has led to an improved understanding of the role that air turbulence can play in affecting wildfires and smoke in different regions of the U.S. A new atmospheric turbulence-based fire-weather index, for anticipating when weather conditions could lead to erratic fire behavior because of strong wind gusts, has been developed for potential inclusion in operational fire-weather forecasts. Twenty-four to 48-hour predictions of this index are provided to fire managers each day via the Fire Consortia for Advanced Modeling of Meteorology and Smoke (FCAMMS)---Eastern Area Modeling Consortium (EAMC) web site (http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/eamc) and through the Predictive Services branch of the Interagency Eastern Area Coordination Center (EACC). A complete description of the index was published in 2010 in the International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • San Jose State University, Michigan State University

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Wildland Fire and Fuels
  •