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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

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Forest Disturbance Processes

Eastern Area Modeling Consortium

[image:] Arttwork for the Eastern Area Modeling ConsortiumResearch Issue

Recent fire seasons have brought to the forefront the issue of severe wildland fires in the United States. Safe and effective fire management and the use of fire as a tool for ecosystem health depend on understanding how the atmosphere interacts with fires and having state-of-the-art fire management tools that reflect our understanding of fire-atmosphere interactions.  The U.S. National Fire Plan (NFP) recognizes the need for new research and the development of predictive models for managing wildland fires. It acknowledges that a key component of this effort must address fire-weather prediction, fire-atmosphere interactions, and smoke transport/diffusion prediction.

Our Research

In response to the fire-atmosphere interaction research needs outlined in the U.S. National Fire Plan and the USDA Forest Service’s Wildland Fire and Fuels Research and Development Strategic Plan, the Forest Service created the National Fire Consortia for Advanced Modeling of Meteorology and Smoke (FCAMMS).  The FCAMMS study the atmospheric component of the fire environment across space and time scales, and its interaction with other components, using a balance of basic and applied science to provide tools to the field now, and to create a basis for future science applications. They bring scientists and land managers together to create a focused research program and promote science delivery. The regional structure of the FCAMMS allows better coordination with land management needs and locally unique fire problems, but the science developed by the FCAMMS is globally relevant and shared among the regions as needed and appropriate.

The Eastern Area Modeling Consortium (EAMC), located in East Lansing, MI, is one of the five consortia within the FCAMMS organization.  The EAMC is a multi-agency coalition of researchers, fire managers, air quality managers, and natural resource managers at the Federal, State, and local levels that is focused on fire weather, fire behavior, and smoke transport issues in the north central and northeastern U.S.  The EAMC carries out core fire science research and product development related to physical fire processes (including small-scale fire-fuel-atmosphere interactions and smoke plume behavior), fire characteristics at multiple scales, and fire danger assessment (including atmospheric processes associated with fire-weather development and evolution).

Expected Impact

Research and product development activities in the EAMC are:

  • Increasing our understanding of fire behavior and smoke dispersion
  • Expanding our knowledge of the physics of fire-atmosphere interactions on all scales
  • Enhancing our ability to predict and respond to the dangers of prescribed fires and wildfires
  • Developing products and transferring new technologies related to national and regional fire-weather and air-quality dynamics

Research Results

Currently, the Eastern Area Modeling Consortium website provides weather maps, time series, smoke transport and dispersion simulations, and location-specific weather predictions for use with Behave or other fire behavior systems. Maps show current and future weather patterns over various regions of the United States. Time series products indicate how conditions are likely to change at a given location over a 48 hour period. Maps and time series are available for specific weather variables or indicators. Smoke transport and dispersion simulations use the BlueSky modeling framework and show expected surface concentrations of smoke from prescribed and wildland fires. 

Research Participants

Principal Investigators

  • Warren E. Heilman, Research Meteorologist, USForest Service - Northern Research Station
  • Joseph J. "Jay" Charney, Research Meteorologist, US Forest Service - Northern Reserach Station
  • Xindi Bian, Meteorologist, US Forest Service - Northern Reserach Station

Research Partners

  • AirFire, USDA-Forest Service-PNRS
  • California and Nevada Smoke and Air Committee (CANSAC)
  • Rocky Mountain Center (RMC), USDA-Forest Service-RMRS
  • Southern High Resolution Modeling Consortium (SHRMC), USDA-Forest Service-SRS
  • Silas Little Experimental Forest
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Utah
  • San Jose State University
  • University of Houston
  • State University of New York – Albany
  • Florida State University
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Weather Ventures Ltd.
  • Interagency Eastern Area Coordination Center (EACC)
  • USDA Forest Service – Region 9
  • USDA Forest Service – Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry
  • State Departments of Natural Resources/Environmental Quality
  • State Forest Fire Compacts
  • NOAA – National Weather Service

Last Modified: 10/08/2014