Skip to Main Content
WRF-Fire: coupled weather-wildland fire modeling with the weather research and forecasting modelAuthor(s): Janice L. Coen; Marques Cameron; John Michalakes; Edward G. Patton; Philip J. Riggan; Kara M. Yedinak
Source: Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. 52: 16-38
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
View PDF (4.47 MB)
DescriptionA wildland fire behavior module (WRF-Fire) was integrated into the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) public domain numerical weather prediction model. The fire module is a surface fire behavior model that is two-way coupled with the atmospheric model. Near-surface winds from the atmospheric model are interpolated to a finer fire grid and used, with fuel properties and local terrain gradients, to determine the fire spread rate and direction. Fuel consumption releases sensible and latent heat fluxes into the atmospheric model lowest layers, driving boundary layer circulations. The atmospheric model, configured in turbulence-resolving large eddy simulation mode, was used to explore the sensitivity of simulated fire characteristics such as perimeter shape, fire intensity, and spread rate to external factors known to influence fires such as fuel characteristics and wind speed and to explain how these external parameters affect the overall fire properties. Using theoretical environmental vertical profiles, a suite of experiments using conditions typical of the daytime convective boundary layer varied these external parameters around a control experiment. Results showed that simulated fires evolved into the expected bowed shape because of fire-atmosphere feedbacks that control airflow in and near fires. The coupled model reproduced expected differences in fire shapes and heading fire intensity between grass, shrub, and forest litter fuel types, the expected narrow, rapid spread in higher wind speeds, and moderate inhibition of fire spread in higher fuel moistures. The effects of fuel load were more complex: higher fuel loads increased the heat flux and fire plume strength, and thus inferred fire effects, but had limited impact on spread rate.
- You may send email to email@example.com to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationCoen, Janice L.; Cameron, Marques; Michalakes, John; Patton, Edward G.; Riggan, Philip J.; Yedinak, Kara M. 2012. WRF-Fire: coupled weather-wildland fire modeling with the weather research and forecasting model. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. 51: 16-38.
- A landscape-scale wildland fire study using coupled weather-wildland fire model and airborne remote sensing
- Evapotranspiration and land surface process responses to afforestation in western Taiwan: A comparison between dry and wet weather conditions
- Field validation of a free-agent cellular automata model of fire spread with fire–atmosphere coupling
XML: View XML