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Incorporating Drought Information into Wildland Fire Management Applications: Recent Research and Tool Development in California and Nevada

August 12, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm AKDT

Speaker: Dan McEvoy, Desert Research Institute and Western Regional Climate Center

Despite a clear link between drought and wildfire, there is currently a lack of information for stakeholders at the regional and local levels for improved wildfire risk management using drought early warning information. Fire managers and other specialized fire professionals, such as Incident Meteorologists, will increasingly need to effectively use drought information in forecasts of fire behavior at fire incidents, and in long-term planning (i.e., seasonal fire potential outlooks) as the climate continues to warm along with shifts in the timing and duration of fire seasons.

This presentation highlights recent efforts to incorporate drought-wildfire linkages into the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) California-Nevada Drought Early Warning System. Our research finds that drought indices which are both multi-scalar and incorporate evaporative demand are most strongly correlated to fuel moisture and key results will be presented.

Testing of the Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) was conducted by Predictive Services in Northern California during the 2018 fire season and feedback will be summarized.

Dan also summarizes web tools that have been developed (and some that are still in development) to access EDDI, other drought indices, and remote sensing data (often with global coverage) that can potentially benefit wildland fire management in Alaska.

This presentation focuses on EDDI tools developed at NOAA’s Physical Science Division and Climate Engine, developed jointly between the Desert Research Institute and University of Idaho.