Canadian Forest Service Publications

An approach to operational forest fire growth predictions for Canada. 2009. Anderson, K.R.; Englefield, P.; Little, J.M.; Reuter, G. International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(8): 893-905.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 31035

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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This paper presents an operational approach to predicting fire growth for wildland fires in Canada. The approach addresses data assimilation to provide predictions in a timely and efficient manner. Fuels and elevation grids, forecast weather, and active fire locations are entered into a fire-growth model; then predicted fire perimeters are mapped and presented on the web. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration AdvancedVery High Resolution Radiometer (NOAA/AVHRR) satellite-based detection systems are used to detect current wildland fires (referred to as hotspots). For selected regions, fire-growth simulation environments are assembled. Fuel type data from several fire management agencies are available in grid format at a resolution of 100m or less; in areas where such data are not available, a national fuels map based on Satellite Pour l’Observation de laTerreVegetation sensor (SPOTVGT) land cover and forest inventory is used. Similarly, terrain data are available from a variety of sources. Current hotspots are used as ignition points while past hotspots are used to delineate area burned. Surface wind, temperature, and dew-point values (forecast by Environment Canada) are used to determine the fire weather conditions at the fire location. A case study of two large fires in Canada consisting of 54 fire simulation days is used to test these hypotheses.