Wildfires in the Sierra Nevada are taking place at unparalleled sizes and intensities as there is a warming in the climate, thereby posing risks to communities and resources across California and Nevada.
Getting access to exact information for decision-making has never been so significant for fire managers who are trying to comprehend and forecast fire behavior.
A liberal grant from the NV Energy Foundation will offer $150,000 to aid the Desert Research Institute’s (DRI) development of a Weather and Research Forecast advanced modeling tool that helps simulate fire, weather and smoke for firefighting and prescribed fire operations.
Predictions and simulations generated by this model will be available to NV Energy’s fire mitigation group, and other professionals coming from the prescribed fire and air quality communities in Nevada and California via the work of the California and Nevada Smoke and Air Committee (CANSAC).
We are committed to protecting our customers and the environment from the increasing risks of natural disasters, which include wildfires. The NV Energy Foundation is proud to support DRI in the development of this technology that will help firefighters better assess fire risk and keep our communities safe.
Doug Cannon, Chief Executive Officer, Desert Research Institute
Doug Cannon is also the President of NV Energy.
To extend the present high-performance computer system that is utilized by CANSAC, funds collected from the new NV Energy Foundation grant will be utilized. The system will offer an interface where users like prescribed fire managers can perform simulations of smoke behavior and fire spread.
The model will enable risk evaluations of particular locations by modeling various burn scenarios. This will help meteorologists determine small-scale wind flows that could pose detrimental effects on fire spread and behavior.
Also, it offers crucial air quality forecasts for burn day or wildfires decisions. Simulations could be run for near future forecasting (a few days out) or longer-lasting scenario modeling for projects that might happen a year or so in the future.
This tool will be useful to wildfire fighting operations as well as for prescribed fire planning, which is essential to getting some of our fire-adapted ecosystems back into balance.
Tim Brown PhD, Director, Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute
Brown added, “By supporting the development of this tool, the NV Energy Foundation is providing a great resource to fire managers in Nevada and California and helping to ensure the safety of firefighters and communities across these two states.”
“With this generous grant, the NV Energy Foundation will play a key role in developing new technology that will be used to solve real-world problems in fire mitigation and fire safety, stated DRI President Kumud Acharya, PhD
“This project is an amazing example of how community organizations like NV Energy can partner with DRI scientists to develop solutions to the problems that face our society and environment,” adds Kumud Acharya.
This project has been financially supported by extra funds from the State of Nevada’s Capacity Building Program and DRI internal funding.
Science Update, by DRI | Tim Brown, Ph.D.
Video Credit: Dessert Research Institute