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Coupled Atmosphere - Wildland Fire - Environment model (CAFWE)


Our modeling studies apply the Clark-Hall atmospheric prediction model, which has been coupled to a wildfire model. Through this interaction, the fire releases heat and moisture into the atmosphere, causing strong winds near the fire. These strong winds then affect the further spread rate and direction of the fire.

Our experiments have simulated fires in many atmospheric conditions, with a variety of fuel types, in different types of terrain to address important questions such as:

  • What causes extreme fire behavior?
  • Can the model predict blowups?
  • How can we predict which few of 100,000 fires in the U.S. each year could become the "Big Ones"?
  • What research is needed before there can be an operational fire behavior forecast model?

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