Lesson overview: In this activity, students study the history of a real wildland fire, the Lolo Peak Fire of 2017 in western Montana. They read excerpts from an official planning document to learn how fire managers predicted fire spread. Then they use weather data to make their own predictions of fire spread. Finally, they synthesize day-by-day reports from the official records of the Incident Command (IC) Team and other sources to create 'Weather Channel'- type reports on the fire’s progress for a national audience. In a closing section of the activity, students review the IC Team’s use of models and a map that shows the variety in fire severity in the area burned.
Lesson Goals: Increase students' understanding
- of the interactions of weather, topography, and fuels as they influence fire behavior
- of the ways in which fire managers use data, modeling, and experience to manage a wildland fire.
Objectives: Given a variety of weather data, maps, news articles, and reports from an Incident Command Team, students can
- predict times when a wildland fire is likely to spread rapidly and times when it will spread little if at all
- synthesize information on a wildland fire into a video report for a national audience