Applications of hydrologic modeling in fire management

Use of soil moisture models and data in U.S. wildland fire management has historically been very limited. This seminar will focus on recent applications of soil water balance and ecohydrology models for pre-fire and post-fire management. An agency review of recent escaped prescribed burns found that long-term drought may have been a contributing factor. We evaluated soil moisture as an indicator of fire danger and potential fire spread using daily fire perimeter maps derived from hundreds of fires in the U.S. Northern Rockies. We show that soil moisture, surface temperature and associated plant hydraulic stress are strong predictors fire spread potential. Using soil moisture and weather forecast data, we developed operational spread potential forecasts during the 2023 wildfire season for the Northwest US.


Zach Holden presents "Hydrologic modeling applications in wildfire management". Fire Lab seminar January 18, 2024