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Predicting local smoke dispersion during low-intensity wildland fires in forested environments

Date: May 7, 2014
Presenter(s): Warren Heilman
Description: Smoke generated from low-intensity prescribed fires used for fuels management can have an adverse impact on local air quality, raising human health and safety concerns especially in wildland-urban-interface areas.  Local smoke behavior is a complex process and is highly dependent on local ambient atmospheric conditions (e.g. wind speed and direction, stability) and fire-induced atmospheric conditions.  The presence of forest overstory vegetation can add further complexity to the local dispersion of smoke.  Planning and managing low-intensity prescribed fires in forested environments may be enhanced with meteorological and smoke modeling systems that adequately account for the effects of forest overstory vegetation on fire-fuel-atmosphere interactions and the local transport of fire emissions.  Through a recently completed Interagency Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) study involving meteorological and air-quality monitoring and modeling of low-intensity prescribed fires in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, we now have additional insight into how forest overstory vegetation can affect local smoke dispersion.  A new version of the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS) capable of simulating turbulent flows inside forest vegetation layers (ARPS-CANOPY) was developed as part of the study. The ARPS-CANOPY/FLEXPART modeling system is being tested for potential operational use along with the other suite of predictive tools available on the EAMC web site. When coupled with an appropriate particle dispersion model, ARPS-CANOPY could potentially be used to predict local air-quality impacts of low-intensity prescribed fires in forested environments.  This presentation provides a summary of some of the key meteorological/air-quality observational and ARPS-CANOPY-based modeling results as well as follow-up efforts to test the feasibility of using ARPS-CANOPY as an operational tool for predicting local air quality impacts of low-intensity fires.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Weather, Fire Effects, Ecological - First Order, Emissions, Management Approaches, Smoke Monitoring, Air Quality, Smoke & Air Quality, Fire & Smoke Models
Ecosystem(s): None
Type: Webinar
NRFSN number: 12835
FRAMES RCS number: 17654
Record updated: Nov 29, 2017