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Thomas Jones, Ravan Ahmadov, Eric James, Gabriel Pereira, Saulo Freitas, Georg Grell
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Smoke & Air Quality

NRFSN number: 26320
Record updated:


The record number of wildfires in the United States in recent years has led to an increased focus on developing tools to accurately forecast their impacts at high spatial and temporal resolutions.


The Warn-on-Forecast System for Smoke (WoFS-Smoke) was developed to improve these forecasts using wildfire properties retrieved from satellites to generate smoke plumes in the system.


The WoFS is a regional domain ensemble data assimilation and forecasting system built around the concept of creating short-term (0–6 h) forecasts of high impact weather. This work extends WoFS-Smoke by ingesting data from the GOES-16 satellite at 15-min intervals to sample the rapidly changing conditions associated with wildfires.

Key results

Comparison of experiments with and without GOES-16 data show that ingesting high temporal frequency data allows for wildfires to be initiated in the model earlier, leading to improved smoke forecasts during their early phases. Decreasing smoke plume intensity associated with weakening fires was also better forecast.


The results were consistent for a large fire near Boulder, Colorado and a multi-fire event in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, indicating a broad applicability of this system.


The development of WoFS-Smoke using geostationary satellite data allows for a significant advancement in smoke forecasting and its downstream impacts such as reductions in air quality, visibility, and potentially properties of severe convection.


Jones T, Ahmadov R, James E, Pereira G, Freitas S, and Grell G. 2024. Ingesting GOES-16 fire radiative power retrievals into Warn-on-Forecast System for Smoke (WoFS-Smoke). International Journal of Wildland Fire 33(2): WF23133.

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