SERDP Research Aims to Support Operational Fire Management Decision-Making

SERDP supported research was recently featured in the news. The video highlights the specially designed wind tunnel that is used for simulating how wildfires burn in different environments. This project has a large team of researchers from several different organizations including, the University of Edinburgh, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, Michigan State University, West Virginia University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Kucera International.

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Dr. Nicholas Skowronski with the USDA Forest Service is leading this cutting edge project that is using a suite of measurements at the fuel particle, fuel bed, field plot, and stand scales to quantify how variability in fuel characteristics and key meteorological factors interact to drive fire behavior during low-intensity prescribed burns. Experiments have been designed to inform the development and evaluation of mechanistic, physics-based models that explicitly account for combustion, turbulent transfer, and energy exchange by coupling and scaling individual component processes. Outcomes from these experiments will improve the understanding and ability to accurately predict fire behavior under a wide range of management scenarios ( Project Web Page).

One main benefit of this research is that it will support the development of simpler models that will be appropriate for operational fire management decision-making. Additionally, this research will result in data that will be invaluable to the fire behavior modeling community. The gap between the highly controlled experiments in the laboratory and open-field, or in situ, conditions has never been adequately addressed in the field under well-characterized wind conditions.

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