Great Lakes Fire and Fuels Help Page


On this page:
Overview
Version 1.1 Release Info: May 10, 2014
CFFDRS Values
CFFDRS Start Up Guide
CFFDRS Data Update
NFDRS Values

Overview


   The Great Lakes Fire and Fuels Project is a collaborative project between the member states/agencies of the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact and researchers at the University of Utah's Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Additional support is provided by the Canadian Forest Service and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). The goal of this project is to provide a centralized fire weather resource that can be used to assist in determining current and future forest fire danger as well as inform the distribution of resources and staffing throughout the Great Lakes Region.

A central objective of this project is to increase the density and geographic distribution of calculated fire weather indexes. This goal is accomplished by applying the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) to existing weather stations located within the Great Lakes Region that provide near real-time temperature, humidity, wind, and accumulated precipitation data. Additionally, the existing National Fire Danger Rating Scale (NFDRS) indexes that are calculated for RAWS stations are incorporated to provide consistency with current approaches as well as for comparative purposes. Both current day observed values and 24 hour forecast values of NFDRS and CFFDRS are provided for all viable stations and can be accessed either through tabular or graphical interfaces.

The Great Lake Fire and Fuels project draws heavily on the previously developed capabilities of MesoWest, a meso-scale weather analysis product developed by the University of Utah. For more on MesoWest, its various products, and its data resources please visit MesoWest.

Version 1.1 May 10, 2014 Release Notes


CFFDRS Values



CFFDRS Overview

The Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) is the Canadian national system of rating forest fire danger. The Rating System is designed to provide an evaluation of forest fire danger, description of fire occurrence, and prediction of fire behaviour characteristics. The Great Lakes Fire and Fuels Consortium relies on a modified version of the CFFDRS code, developed by the The Canadian Forest Service Fire Research Group, and applies it to both US and Canadian based weather stations. For more specific information about the development of the CFFDRS please click here.

Calculation of Daily Observed CFFDRS


The calculation of the daily observed CFFDRS values is centered on the 18 UTC observations for each of the weather stations belonging to the RAWS, NWS/FAA, MAWN, and CANADA networks which fall within the specified domain of the GLFFC. The processing to calculate the observed CFFDRS values for each station runs at 18:30, 19:30, 20:30, 00:30, and 04:30 UTC, each time looking to see if there is an observation that falls within +/- 30 mins of 18UTC. If no value is found (e.g. missing observation) the process will then look for flanking observations within +/- 1 hour of 18 UTC. If these bracketing observations are found the process will then average the values of the two observations and use result as a proxy for the missing 18UTC observation. On the other hand, if no satisfactory combination of observations can be found by the last iteration (04:30UTC) the process will cease and would then need to be manually restarted by an administrator.

Calculation of Forecast CFFDRS Values

The calculation of the forecast CFFDRS values relies on both current observations (as discussed above) and the use of the National Weather Service (NWS) National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD). The process starts by first locating each weather station within an NDFD grid cell. The forecast values of temperature, wind, humidity and precipitation for this grid cell at 18UTC the following day are then used to calculate a forecast value of the CFFDRS for a given station. These forecast values are subsequently updated every 6 hours to reflect the newest gridded forecast values as well as to include any actual recorded precipitation within the previous 6 hour observation window.

For example the first generation forecast would be issued at 18:30 UTC (assuming there is an observation value to use... see above). This forecast would use the current observation values and the latest availble NDFD grid values (15 UTC) of temperature, precipitation, wind and humidity for 18 UTC the following day (effectively a 27 hour forecast). The next iteration of the forecast would occur at 00:30 UTC (next day) using the 21 UTC NDFD values for 18UTC the following day (now and 18hr fcst). The precipitation would now include a 6 hr observed summation (from 18UTC-0000UTC) as well as the forecast values (in 6hr increments from 0000UTC-1800UTC). This process would then recur at 0600 UTC now substituting 12 hrs of observed precipitation and using the most recently updated NDFD grids. Each iteration over writes the previous values, so only the most recent value will be displayed. Similar to the observed CFFDRS values if no 18UTC observation can be found, the forecast is not computed. The process would have to be restarted by an adminstrator entering CFFDRS start up or replacement data.

CFFDRS Startup Guide


A handful of users have privileges to restart the CFFDRS calculations using different dates and start up values, add data for missing days, and to shut off the processing for a given station. This is an important feature as it allows for the correction of bad data, the interpolation of CFFDRS values for missing days, and the cessation of calculations for stations that are malfunctioning. For additional help adjusting or stopping CFFDRS calculations you can contact the MesoWest development team atmos-mesowest@lists.utah.edu

Step 1: Login

Example Directions
To start the process of entering or modifying weather or CFFDRS values you must first be logged in. This can be done here. If you believe you should be included in the list of users with this privilege please contact the development team atmos-mesowest@lists.utah.edu

Step 2: Select a CFFDRS Station

Example Directions
Once you've logged in the next step is to navigate to the CFFDRS Initial Values Page. This page can be selected from the Great Lakes Home Page or directly here. You must now enter the ID (STID) for the station you wish to alter. A list of all the CFFDRS stations is available here and is linked on the Home Page. Select a year (typically the current year) and click submit.

Step 3: Enter Start Up Values and Date

Example Directions
Start up: Once you've selected a station and a year you will be brought to a page that lists the start up values and dates that have been applied to your selected station within the calender year. To change the start values or date type "insert" into the "Enter Start Date..." field. Now select a day, month, and values for the different CFFDRS elements.

Suspend: Similarly a "suspend" date can be selected at the bottom of the page. This will cause the CFFDRS calculations to cease on that date. This is useful for stopping calculations for stations that have bad sensor data.


CFFDRS Data Update



In addition to changing the CFFDRS start-up values, certain users have the ability to insert, modify, or delete the weather data that is used in the CFFDRS calculations. This functionality is particularly useful for backfilling periods of data drop outs and adjusting for erroneous sensor data. The CFFDRS calculations process will look for updated data every 15 minutes, and then recalculate all of the indexes based upon the new weather data.

Step 1: Login

Example Directions
To start the process of entering or modifying weather or CFFDRS values you must first be logged in. This can be done here. If you believe you should be included in the list of users with this privilege please contact the development team atmos-mesowest@lists.utah.edu



Step 2: Select a Station

Example Directions
Start the Data Update process by selecting a CFFDRS station. A list of all of the CFFDRS stations can be found here


Step 3: Select a Date and Enter Data

Example Directions
Select the Date for which you wish to replace or modify the weather variables. Then enter the values for any/all of the listed parameters. You may also enter 9999 in any/all of the fields to effectively remove or cancel previously updated values.


Step 4: Review Modified Data

Example Directions
An example of the confirmed changes in the weather variable values.
An example of a data update that has been cancled by entering 9999.


NFDRS Values


Both observed and forecast NFDRS indexes are included in the great lakes data base. These values are obtained from NIFC on a daily basis.


Tabular Fire Weather Products

CFFDRS Database Table
NFDRS Observed Database Table
NFDRS Forecast Database Table
CFFDRS Initial Values Startup (Restricted Access)
Download CFFDRS by State