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Incorporating field wind data into FIRETEC simulations of the International Crown Fire Modeling Experiment (ICFME): preliminary lessons learned

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Field experiments are one way to develop or validate wildland fire-behavior models. It is important to consider the implications of assumptions relating to the locality of measurements with respect to the fire, the temporal frequency of the measured data, and the changes to local winds that might be caused by the experimental configuration. Twenty FIRETEC simulations of International Crown Fire Modeling Experiment (ICFME) plot 1 and plot 6 fires were performed using horizontally homogenized fuels. These simulations enable exploration of the sensitivity of model results to specific aspects of the interpretation and use of the locally measured wind data from this experiment. By shifting ignition times with respect to dynamic measured tower wind data by up to 2 min, FIRETEC simulations are used to examine possible ramifications of treating the measured tower winds as if they were precisely the same as those present at the location of the fire, as well as possible implications of temporal averaging of winds or undersampling. Model results suggest that careful consideration should be paid to the relative time scales of the wind fluctuations, duration of the fires, and data collection rates when using experimentally derived winds as inputs for fire models.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA. 2: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320 122 Street, Edmonton, AB T5N 2C5, Canada. 3: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3B3, Canada. 4: INRA (Institut National pour la Recherche Agronomique), Unité de Recherches Forestières Méditerranéennes, Equipe de Prévention des Incendies de Forêt, UR629, F-84914, Avignon, France. 5: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA.

Publication date: May 30, 2012

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