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Project ID: 11-1-7-4

Year: 2011

Date Started: 10/01/2011

Ending Date:  09/30/2014

Title: Future Mega-Fires and Smoke Impacts

Project Proposal Abstract: Mega-fire events, in which large high-intensity fires propagate over extended periods, can cause both immense damage to the local environment and catastrophic air quality impacts to cities and towns downwind. The extensive 2010 fires in western Russia are only the most recent example of mega-fire's potential to impact air quality as widespread and prolonged smoke pollution exposed millions to unhealthy air. With more mega-fires expected due to increases in extreme events associated with climate change (e.g. droughts, heat waves), fuel accumulation resulting from past fire suppression practices, and an expanding wildland-urban interface, there is a critical need to be able to identify future potential mega-fire situations and to understand their full impact on the environment, including implications for air quality. We propose to directly address each of the four specific needs identified in the RFA using existing databases and tools and focusing on quantifying the expected results and their uncertainties. The first step in the proposed study is to determine the past fuels, weather, and climate conditions observed during named mega-fires and also during very-large fires of various size classes (identified as the top 0.5-5% of fires greater than 1000 acres). We will then assess where and how often these conditions will occur by the middle of the century using 13 different IPCC climate models. With the identified potential locations and timings for these mega-fires and very-large fires, we will determine both the overall potential for smoke transport to cities and the expected smoke concentrations and episode durations. Finally, we will assess overall regional impacts of these mega-fires and very-large fires on regional haze. Rankings will be provide at each step identifying which potential future mega-fire and very-large fire locations have the greatest ability to impact over 700 sensitive receptors including large cities, smaller cities, and Class 1 airsheds (such as national parks and wilderness areas). Throughout this study national and regional fire and land management groups will be involved including the interagency National Predictive Services Groups tasked with operational near-term and longer-term forecasting of fire risk.

Principal Investigator: Narasimhan K. Larkin

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-AirFire Research Team


Other Project Collaborators

Type

Name

Agency/Organization

Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Christina T. Bui

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Rebecca A. Slick

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

John T. Abatzoglou

University of Idaho

Department of Geography

Co-Principal Investigator

Brian E. Potter

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Co-Principal Investigator

Brian J. Stocks

B.J. Stocks Wildfire Investigations Ltd.

Collaborator/Contributor

Donald Z. McKenzie

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Collaborator/Contributor

Miriam L. Rorig

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Collaborator/Contributor

E. Ashley X. Steel

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Collaborator/Contributor

Tara M. Strand

NZ Crown Research Institute (Scion)

Federal Cooperator

Narasimhan K. Larkin

Forest Service

PNW-AirFire Research Team


Project Locations

Consortium

Alaska

Appalachian

California

Great Basin

Great Plains

Lake States

Oak Woodlands

Northern Rockies

Northwest

Pacific

South

Southern Rockies

Southwest

Tallgrass


Level

State

Agency

Unit

NATIONAL

FED


Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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