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John T. Abatzoglou, Daniel J. McEvoy, Nicholas J. Nauslar, Katherine C. Hegewisch, Justin L. Huntington
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NRFSN number: 25881
FRAMES RCS number: 67654
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The increasing complexity and impacts of fire seasons in the United States have prompted efforts to improve early warning systems for wildland fire management. Outlooks of potential fire activity at lead-times of several weeks can help in wildland fire resource allocation as well as complement short-term meteorological forecasts for ongoing fire events. Here, we describe an experimental system for developing downscaled ensemble-based subseasonal forecasts for the contiguous US using NCEP's operational Climate Forecast System version 2 model. These forecasts are used to calculate forecasted fire danger indices from the United States (US) National Fire Danger Rating System in addition to forecasts of evaporative demand. We further illustrate the skill of subseasonal forecasts on weekly timescales using hindcasts from 2011 to 2021. Results show that while forecast skill degrades with time, statistically significant week 3 correlative skill was found for 76% and 30% of the contiguous US for Energy Release Component and evaporative demand, respectively. These results highlight the potential value of experimental subseasonal forecasts in complementing existing information streams in weekly-to-monthly fire business decision making for suppression-based decisions and geographic reallocation of resources during the fire season, as well for proactive fire management actions outside of the core fire season.


Abatzoglou, John T.; McEvoy, Daniel J.; Nauslar, Nicholas J.; Hegewisch, Katherine C.; Huntington, Justin L. 2023. Downscaled subseasonal fire danger forecast skill across the contiguous United States. Atmospheric Science Letters 24(8):e1165.

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