The overarching goal of this project is to advance fuel and fire modeling capabilities, moving the three-dimensional (3D) fuel and fire modeling capabilities that the project team has developed from research to operational use, thereby expanding the toolbox for fuel and fire managers. At present, fuel and fire managers rely exclusively on two-dimensional, coarse data (typically 30m pixels) and simple but dated models (Rothermel, 1972) to inform wildfire and fuel management operations. The detailed 3D fuel and fire modeling tools that the team has developed through FastFuels and QUIC-Fire offer new possibilities for managers and provide a pathway for integration of innovation going forward. However, while the fundamental science of the system has great potential, it has not yet been developed into a tool suite that is easily and directly usable by managers. This project will achieve this goal through the development of a series of new modules to the integrated system. While each new module will add new capabilities not currently available to managers, the true benefit to managers will arise through the synergy and new capacities delivered by interactions between modules. New modules will be developed for 1) ignition, 2) fuel manipulation, 3) rangeland and surface fuels enhancement, 4) fire weather, 5) fire metrics, including emissions, and 6) visualization. Additionally, "on-ramps" for data assimilation into FastFuels will include 7) airborne laser scanning, 8) terrestrial laser scanning and 9) uncrewed aircraft system data. The architecture of the tool suite will support secondary objectives of facilitating model evaluation and continuing refinement over time.
This project focuses on the development of software modules, suitable for use with high performance computing (HPC) or cloud servers, collectively comprising a tool suite for Department of Defense (DoD) fuel and fire managers to advance the application of prescribed fire science and its implementation in support of DoD’s risk mitigation and ecosystem management goals. Leveraging HPC/cloud resources, computational and storage costs would be web based, enabling access by DoD managers on simple laptop or even tablet computers. No software installation would be required on DoD computers. Focusing on four diverse sites representing a range of fire environmental conditions, the project will demonstrate the new capabilities that the tool suite brings to fire managers. Success will be measured through comparisons between observed and simulated data with the systems, through comparisons between the tool suite and current systems and through fire manager feedback.
This project develops a web-based software suite that has the potential to transform vegetation and fire management within and beyond DoD installations, enabling managers to use tools that do not have the limitations of current systems (built on a point-functional 50-year-old fire model), and access 3D fuel simulations and dynamic physics-based fire modeling. This step change in technology will empower DoD fuel and fire managers to leverage cutting edge science as they plan and implement fuel treatments and prescribed fires. The project is also unique in providing an architecture that, through its modular design, will facilitate fire model evaluation and enable incorporation of ongoing innovations in vegetation and fuel mapping. This project thus provides a vehicle by which managers can transition from current tools into next generation tools far into the future.