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Individual Highlight

The Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment: Improving Fire and Smoke Forecasting, Protecting Public Health

Photo of On June 20, 2019, the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment completed data collection on the Manning Creek stand-replacement prescribed fire conducted by the Richfield Ranger District in the Fishlake National Forest, Utah.On June 20, 2019, the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment completed data collection on the Manning Creek stand-replacement prescribed fire conducted by the Richfield Ranger District in the Fishlake National Forest, Utah.Snapshot : With researchers and wildland fire crews in position, weather and smoke monitoring equipment activated, and camera carrying drones launched, air crew ignited what would become a prescribed stand-replacement fire in the Fishlake National Forest, Utah. The event on June 20, 2019, was the latest in a series of large-scale, prescribed burns conducted as part of the multiagency Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE).

Principal Investigators(s) :
Larkin, SimOttmar, Roger D.
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2019
Highlight ID : 1536

Summary

Models for projecting fire behavior and smoke impacts are increasingly relied on during decisionmaking and planning, but many models lack suitable data for adequate validation and evaluation. Land managers consider this a critical problem and say that validation data collected from operational prescribed burns and wildfires is a crucial need for progressing and transitioning newer models and systems into operational use. USDA Forest Service scientists Roger Ottmar and Sim Larkin with the agency's Pacific Northwest Research Station are leading the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE), a large-scale, multi-agency effort, to address this need. FASMEE experiments, such as the prescribed stand-replacement fire in the Fishlake National Forest are designed to identify how fuels, fire behavior, fire energy, and meteorology interact to determine the dynamics of smoke plumes, the long-range transport of smoke, and local fire effects. Other data from the experiments are used to validate and improve models that help land managers predict fire and smoke severity, and to improve firefighter safety standards and guidelines. Other outcomes from this multi-year effort include a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) geodatabase for fuel measurements and modelled fire characteristics for the following wildfire aviation campaigns: The National Center for Atmospheric Research Wildfire’s experiment for cloud chemistry, aerosol absorption and nitrogen (WE-CAN); the National Science Foundation’s biomass burning flux measurements of trace gases and aerosols project (BB-FLUX); and, the co-sponsored National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration and National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s project, fire influence on regional to global environments and air quality (FIREX-AQ).

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Fishlake National Forest
  • Northern Research Station
  • Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Southern Research Station
  • Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Joint Fire Science Program
  • NASA
  • National Science Foundation
  • San Jose State University
  • Tall Timbers Research Station
  • University of Utah
  • University of Washington
  •   National Oceanic and Atmospheric and Administration