One major source of uncertainty in fire behavior and fire behavior modeling is the spatial variation in wind fields. Mountainsides, valleys, ridges, and the fire itself, influence both the speed and direction of wind flows. Small scale surface wind variations cannot be predicted by synoptic forecasting methods or on-site observations and are therefore not available to fire modelers. This project is a 'proof of concept project' with three objectives: 1) develop a methodology for using commercially available computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools to produce high resolution surface wind maps and 2) quantify the effect of high resolution surface wind data on fire behavior predictions from the FARSITE software package, and 3) address the fundamental science question of the practical potential for modeling fire-induced changes to the wind fields.
Finney, Mark; Bradshaw, Larry; Butler, Bret. 2005. Modeling surface winds in complex terrain for wildland fire incident support. Joint Fire Science Project 03-2-1-04. Missoula, MT: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. 10 p.