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Testing a new fire model during a crowning prescribed fire

by Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today |

U.S. Forest Service scientists and others with the interagency Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment, or FASMEE, teamed up with the Fishlake National Forest to study a prescribed fire from start to finish.

After months of planning and preparation, fire crews ignited more than 2,000 acres of Utah forest in an effort to consume living upper canopy vegetation and initiate growth of new vegetation. This June 2019 prescribed fire was designed to restore aspen ecosystems by removing conifer trees and stimulating the regrowth of aspen.

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest Research Station and Rocky Mountain Research Station, as well as other FASMEE participants, saw the fire as a unique opportunity for study.

During the event a fire model used for forecasting where and how a fire will move was put to the test. Adam Kochanski of the University of Utah used the opportunity to test the fire model known WRF-SFIRE.

WRF-SFIRE is a collaborative effort of NASA-funded teams from University of Colorado-Denver, University of Utah and Colorado State University. The project is led by Jan Mandel, Adam Kochanski and Kyle Hilburn.