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A topographically resolved wildfire danger and drought monitoring system for the conterminous United States
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Tue Nov 28, 2017
Pindo A


Authors: Zachary A. Holden; Alan Swanson; William M. Jolly Russell Parsons; Marco Maneta; Mitchell Burgard; Chris Gibson

Information on fire danger and drought that resolves fine-scale topographic variation may help to inform fire management decisions and land management planning. Here, we describe the development of a web-based mapping system designed to provide topographically resolved information on evapotranspiration, drought, fuel moisture and wildfire danger for the contiguous United States. We developed 8 arc second (~250 meter) resolution daily gridded radiation, temperature, humidity, and snow water equivalent data and used these grids to produce soil water balance models and fuel moisture inputs to National Fire Danger Rating System. Historical climatologies were developed for 1979-2015 and outputs are produced for the previous day and a four day forecast period. Aspect-scale differences in shortwave radiation contribute to warmer air temperatures on south-facing slopes and greater snow accumulation and delays in melt timing on north-facing slopes, resulting in large delays in fuel conditioning on shaded slopes. These datasets will help advance our understanding of the role of topography in wildland fire spread and ecological effects. Integration of these data with national programs like the Wildland Fire Assessment System and the Wildland Fire Decision Support System could support more proactive management of wildland fires in the future.

Zachary A Holden
Scientist, U.S. Forest Service Region 1

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