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Modeling Tool Improves Smoke Dispersion Predictions During Low-Intensity Fires

Photo of Smoke from a low-intensity prescribed fire conducted in the New Jersey Pine Barrens on 6 March 2012. Forest Service research looks at the impact on a local highway. Warren Heilman, USDA Forest ServiceSmoke from a low-intensity prescribed fire conducted in the New Jersey Pine Barrens on 6 March 2012. Forest Service research looks at the impact on a local highway. Warren Heilman, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists developed a new modeling tool to improve predictions of local smoke transport during low-intensity wildland fires in forested environments. This modeling tool will help fire and forest managers in planning for prescribed fires to minimize adverse air-quality effects on residents and firefighters near wildfires.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Heilman, Warren E. 
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 479

Summary

Smoke from prescribed fires, which often occur in wildland-urban interface areas and in areas where forest vegetation has a significant impact on the local meteorology, can linger for relatively long periods of time and adversely affect human health and safety. The planning and tactical management of low-intensity prescribed fires can be enhanced with models and decision support tools developed with a fundamental understanding of how the atmosphere interacts with these types of fires and the smoke they generate. Forest Service scientists working with researchers at Michigan State University on a Joint Fire Science Program project developed a coupled meteorological/particle-dispersion model suitable for predicting local meteorological and air-quality effects of low intensity wildland fires in forested environments. The modeling system was tested using meteorological and air-quality data collected during prescribed fires conducted by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and is now being evaluated as a potential real-time operational tool for fire and smoke management.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Michigan State University
  • New Jersey Forest Fire Service

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