The Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations (CIWRO) at the University of Oklahoma has received $1.4 million to conduct research into mitigating the impacts of wildfires across the country. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is part of a $34 million national initiative to improve the understanding and modeling of wildfire behavior and integrate that into weather forecasting and wildfire warnings.
The funding will be provided over five years to six research universities in NOAA’s Cooperative Institute system to support wildfire preparedness and response as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
CIWRO will conduct two major studies as part of the grant: Probabilistic Fire Weather Guidance and Fire Weather Observation Analysis.
Probabilistic Fire Weather Guidance
Using 15 years of wildfire data, the Probabilistic Fire Weather Guidance project will identify a statistical relationship between the critical level of fire weather outlooks that are issued by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and fire spread rate as well as the cost of fire suppression.
“The resultant technology of this project will provide real-time guidance on anticipated cost and magnitude of fire suppression resources for a wildfire scenario as statistically related to the probabilistic critical level forecast of SPC fire weather outlooks,” said David Jahn, research scientist at CIWRO and principal investigator on the project. “Such technology will be of real value to fire and emergency managers to anticipate the amount and cost of resources to address a specific wildfire event.”