Project


Title

Fire Behavior Modeling and Assessment for the Anchorage Wildland-Urban Interface
Principal Investigator(s):
  • T. Scott Rupp
    Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP)

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • FARSITE - Fire Area Simulator
  • fuel loadings
  • fuel models
  • Municipality of Anchorage
  • wildfire risk
Region(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 3, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 6624

Description

During 2002, fuel loadings were measured at 150 plots in three major fuel types across Anchorage's wildland-urban interface. A suite of Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) fire behavior variables was sampled to parameterize custom fuel models for use in the FARSITE fire behavior simulation model. FARSITE uses a variety of topographic, landscape, weather and fuel data themes to simulate the spread of fire across a landscape. Previous application of FARSITE to the study area identified major inconsistencies between the standard FDRS fuel models and the actual fuels present in the Anchorage Bowl. Accurate assessment of risk therefore warrants the development and application of custom fuel models. A set of baseline simulations of expected wildfire behavior is being developed under a host of weather condition scenarios. Model sensitivity analysis is directed at variables important in driving fire behavior and identifying parameter value thresholds that can direct mitigation efforts in the fuel reduction phase of the Anchorage Wildfire Program. For example, stand height, canopy closure, crown bulk-density and base height, and woody debris fuel loadings are important drivers of fire behavior and therefore need to be considered when developing fuel management strategies. The incorporation of field and model results will identify specific areas of wildfire risk in the Anchorage Bowl as well as management prescriptions that will most significantly reduce the variables that drive the predicted fire behavior.