Toward an integrated system for fire, smoke and air quality simulations

TitleToward an integrated system for fire, smoke and air quality simulations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKochanski, AK
Secondary AuthorsJenkins, MAnn
Tertiary AuthorsYedinak, K
Subsidiary AuthorsMandel, J, Beezley, J, Lamb, B
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
VolumeOnline early
Keywordssimulations, technical reports and journal articles

In this study, WRF-Sfire is coupled with WRF-Chem to construct WRFSC, an integrated forecast system for wildfire behaviour and smoke prediction. WRF-Sfire directly predicts wildfire spread, plume and plume-top heights, providing comprehensive meteorology and fire emissions to chemical transport model WRF-Chem, eliminating the need for an external plume-rise model. Evaluation of WRFSC was based on comparisons between available observations of fire perimeter and fire intensity, smoke spread, PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter), NO and ozone concentrations, and plume-top heights with the results of two WRFSC simulations, a 48-h simulation of the 2007 Witch–Guejito Santa Ana fires and a 96-h WRF-Sfire simulation with passive tracers of the 2012 Barker Canyon fire. The study found overall good agreement between forecast and observed local- and long-range fire spread and smoke transport for the Witch–Guejito fire. However, ozone, PM2.5 and NO concentrations were generally underestimated and peaks mistimed in the simulations. This study found overall good agreement between simulated and observed plume-top heights, with slight underestimation by the simulations. Two promising results were the agreement between plume-top heights for the Barker Canyon fire and faster than real-time execution, making WRFSC a possible operational tool.