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Univ. of Alaska (Fairbanks): "Climatological analyses for the Canadian Fire Weather Index System for fire danger ratings"

Final Report

Daily weather and its associated variables influence potential wildfire danger by modifying the moisture content of fuels. Precipitation, relative humidity, wind, and temperature all influence the moisture condition of fuels, the susceptibility for them to ignite, and their ability to sustain combustion. How each of these weather elements influences fuel moisture content is determined by how long they interact with the fuels. By using daily climatology records and fuel moisture records over a period of time, it is possible to develop fire danger ratings for past and present conditions.

The Fire Weather Index (FWI) System is a sub-system of the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System. Based on standardized weather observations, the FWI System is used to determine an area's fire danger by keeping track of moisture in fuels over a period of time. The purpose of this project was to produce a thirty-year history of FWI System values for Fairbanks, Alaska. Such a history could be used as a benchmark for fire control and suppression agencies to evaluate the fire danger of the current season with respect to previous seasons. It could also be used by the NWS to examine warm season precipitation patterns in the interior of Alaska.