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Surface Wind Modeling

High resolution surface wind modeling in support of fire management

Wind can be the dominant environmental variable affecting wildland fire intensity and spread. When fire is burning in mountainous terrain, winds can vary widely in speed and direction over scales of 3 to 200 feet. The result is rapid changes in fire intensity at small scales that can have significant influences on fire growth at larger scales. Supported by the Joint Fire Science Program, FFS researchers Bret Butler, Jason Forthofer, Natalie Wagenbrenner and partner GCS Research continue to develop new tools to simulate surface wind flow at these micro scales and to apply these new applications into a recently developed wind model, WindNinja.

Modified: Jun 27, 2014

Select Publications & Products

Butler, Bret W.; Finney, Mark; Bradshaw, Larry; Forthofer, Jason; McHugh, Chuck; Stratton, Rick; Jimenez, Dan 2006. WindWizard: A New Tool for Fire Management Decision Support. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 787-796

Butler, B.W.; Forthofer, J.M.; Finney, M.A.; Bradshaw, L.S.; Stratton, R. 2006. High Resolution Wind Direction and Speed Information for Support of Fire Operations. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 595-602

Forthofer, J.; Shannon, K.; Butler, B. 2010. Initialization of high resolution surface wind simulations using NWS gridded data. In: Wade, Dale D.; Robinson, Mikel L., eds. Proceedings of 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference; 25-29 October 2010; Spokane, WA. Birmingham, AL: International Association of Wildland Fire. 5 p.

Forthofer, Jason; Butler, Bret 2007. Differences in simulated fire spread over Askervein Hill using two advanced wind models and a traditional uniform wind field. In: Butler, Bret W.; Cook, Wayne, comps. The fire environment--innovations, management, and policy; conference proceedings. 26-30 March 2007; Destin, FL. Proceedings RMRS-P-46CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. CD-ROM. p. 123-127