Fire behavior and smoke modeling: Model improvement and measurement needs for next-generation smoke research and forecasting systems

Int J Wildland Fire. 2019;28(8):570. doi: 10.1071/wf18204.


There is an urgent need for next-generation smoke research and forecasting (SRF) systems to meet the challenges of the growing air quality, health, and safety concerns associated with wildland fire emissions. This review paper presents simulations and experiments of hypothetical prescribed burns with a suite of selected fire behavior and smoke models and identifies major issues for model improvement and the most critical observational needs. The results are used to understand the new and improved capability required for the next-generation SRF systems and to support the design of the Fire and Smoke Model Evaluation Experiment (FASMEE) and other field campaigns. The next-generation SRF systems should have more coupling of fire, smoke, and atmospheric processes to better simulate and forecast vertical smoke distributions and multiple sub-plumes, dynamical and high-resolution fire processes, and local and regional smoke chemistry during day and night. The development of the coupling capability requires comprehensive and spatially and temporally integrated measurements across the various disciplines to characterize flame and energy structure (e.g., individual cells, vertical heat profile and the height of well mixing flaming gases), smoke structure (vertical distributions and multiple sub-plumes), ambient air processes (smoke eddy, entrainment and radiative effects of smoke aerosols), fire emissions (for different fuel types and combustion conditions from flaming to residual smoldering), as well as night-time processes (smoke drainage and super-fog formation).

Keywords: CMAQ; Daysmoke; FIRETEC; WFDS; WRF-SFIRE-CHEM; burn plan and measurement design.