Title: A real-time wildfire model for Los Alamos, New Mexico

Authors: M. Diana Webb, Randy G. Balice

Addresses: Policy Office, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA. ' Policy Office, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA

Abstract: Ecologists and fire behaviour specialists at Los Alamos National Laboratory developed a real-time wildfire simulation modelling application to assist in fighting wildland fires as they occur. The forested areas of northern New Mexico are prone to catastrophic wildfire, particularly in recent years as a regional drought continues. The 43,000-acre Cerro Grande Fire of 2000 burned a significant fraction of Laboratory lands as well as the adjacent town site. Damage and loss to structures and lost work time approached $1 billion. To assist in preventing catastrophic losses from future fires, Laboratory scientists adapted topographic, vegetation, and weather data layers to work with the FARSITE fire model to be able to predict fire behaviour on a real-time basis during a wildfire emergency and to plan for fighting real fires. This modelling system has been installed and is maintained at the Laboratory Emergency Operations Center at Los Alamos. In this capacity, the model is an integral component in the emergency response capability for the Los Alamos region.

Keywords: emergency operations; FARSITE; geographic information system; Los Alamos National Laboratory; wildfire hazard management; wildfire modelling; wildfire simulation; wildland fires; forest fires.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2004.004656

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2004 Vol.3 No.2, pp.226 - 242

Published online: 26 May 2004 *

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