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A method for ensemble wildland fire simulation

Posted date: October 07, 2011
Publication Year: 
2011
Authors: Finney, Mark A.; Grenfell, Isaac C.; McHugh, Charles W.; Seli, Robert C.; Trethewey, Diane L.; Stratton, Richard D.; Brittain, Stuart
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Environmental Modeling and Assessment. 16: 153-167.

Abstract

An ensemble simulation system that accounts for uncertainty in long-range weather conditions and two-dimensional wildland fire spread is described. Fuel moisture is expressed based on the energy release component, a US fire danger rating index, and its variation throughout the fire season is modeled using time series analysis of historical weather data. This analysis is used to characterize the seasonal trend in ERC, autocorrelation of residuals, and daily standard deviation and stochastically generate artificial time series of afternoon fuel moisture. Daily wind speed and direction are sampled stochastically from joint probabilities of historical wind speed and direction for the date range of the fire simulation period. Hundreds or thousands of fire growth simulations are then performed using the synthetic fire weather sequences. The performance of these methods is evaluated in terms of the number of ensemble member simulations, one- versus two-dimensional fire spread simulations, and comparison with results from 91 fires occurring from 2007 to 2009. Simulations were found to be in consistent agreement with observations, but trends indicate that the ensemble average of simulated fire sizes were consistently larger than actual fires whereas the farthest extent burned by fires was underestimated.

Citation

Finney, Mark A.; Grenfell, Isaac C.; McHugh, Charles W.; Seli, Robert C.; Trethewey, Diane; Stratton, Richard D.; Brittain, Stuart. 2011. A method for ensemble wildland fire simulation. Environmental Modeling and Assessment. 16: 153-167.