In mid-April, the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory hosted three fire specialists from Morocco’s High Commission on Water, Forests, and Combating Desertification for a one-week study tour. The Fire Modeling Institute (FMI) and the Wildland Fire Management Research, Development, and Application Group (WFM RD&A) served as hosts. FFS Spatial Fire Analyst Greg Dillon led the tour at the Lab in his capacity as Acting Deputy Program Manager for FMI. The study tour focused on improving understanding of the U.S. Forest Service’s organizational system for predictive modeling of forest fire spread risk.
The meeting leveraged expertise in geospatial analysis and fire behavior modeling possessed by FMI and RMRS to guide the process of building what the Moroccan guests referred to as “LANDFIRE Morocco.” HD
Research Ecologist Matt Reeves and Greg Dillon provided an overview of vegetation and fuels mapping methods while FFS Fire Spatial Analyst Chuck McHugh, Fire Behavior Specialist LaWen Hollingsworth, and WFM RD&A Fire Applications Specialist Erin Noonan-Wright guided discussions on limitations and assumptions of fire modeling and selecting appropriate fuel models for the Moroccan landscape. FFS Geospatial Analyst Eva Karau provided spatial analysis support. Research Ecologist Matt Jolly gave an over view of climatology and the fire danger rating system.
The Forest Service has collaborated with the High Commission since 2007 on a number of natural resource
management programs including rangeland management, watershed conservation, and information systems
management to enhance forest conservation throughout the country. Since 2012, the Forest Service has supported fire management in Morocco by adapting Incident Command System principles to improve efficiency
and coordination of Morocco’s wildfire management efforts. In 2018, Erin Noonan-Wright provided training in spatial fire modeling (FlamMap 6.0) to the High Commission in Tetouan, Morocco. This study tour is a continuation of that training and the beginning of work to compile and develop land cover and spatial fuel model data required to implement fire modeling in Morocco.