The Northwest and Alaska Fire Research Clearinghouse
 The Northwest and Alaska Fire Research Clearinghouse

www.fs.fed.us/pnw/fera/firehouse 

Predicting the Risk of "Dry" Lightning
Lightning causes most wildfires in the western United States, and is a major cause of fire elsewhere in the U.S. Because most lightning occurs with significant precipitation, however, simple predictions of Lightning Activity Level (LAL) do not accurately determine fire ignition potential. This project incorporates existing weather predictions into tactical fire preparedness and planning by adapting a methodology to assess the risk of "dry" lightning (that which occurs without significant accompanying rainfall). Based on atmospheric moisture and stability variables, discriminant rules were developed that assign a probability of dry lightning over the western United States, using a method created and tested in the northwestern U.S. Resulting maps are available on the web on a daily basis. Additionally, the discriminant rules are being applied to and tested using mesoscale weather models (MM5) that currently operate in real-time support of fire weather predictions in the northwestern U.S.; the rules will subsequently be made available for regional fire-weather modeling with MM5 being planned in other parts of the country. Fire weather forecasters can use these results to improve predictions of lightning-caused fire ignitions.

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Comments/suggestions?Last updated: 12/21/2004
FIREHouse is a collaboration between the Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA) of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory; the University of Washington; the National Park Service; the Bureau of Land Management – Alaska Fire Service; the US Fish and Wildlife Service; and the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII). The NBII is a broad, collaborative program that provides increased access to data and information on the nation’s biological resources. Funding for FIREHouse has been provided by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) and NBII. FIREHouse is coordinating efforts with the Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES) project team. Content on FIREHouse will provide substantial contributions to the Northwest Fire Science Portal and the Alaska Fire Science Portal.
 
Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, PNW Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Seattle, WA USDA Forest Service Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES)    National Biological Information Infrastructure
College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
National Park Service Alaska Fire Service US Fish & Wildlife Service