Date of this Version
Fire Science Brief, Issue 127, February 2011
There’s a lot of wildland in Oklahoma—and as a result, a lot of potential for fire. To help prepare for wildfire and perform fi re management activities, land managers previously used weather, fire danger, and smoke management products provided by the Oklahoma Mesonet, the state’s automated weather station network. But unfortunately, the products were not easily found or easy to use, and very little user training was provided. Fire managers also expressed the need for multi-day forecasting capabilities to help anticipate periods of high fire danger and severe wildfi re conditions and to improve pre-burn planning and management. These critical needs were also affi rmed in a problem statement provided by the Forest Service, which included a specifi c request for a forecast component integrated with the Mesonet-based fi re management tools, the development of a dedicated, stand-alone fi re management Website, and subsequent user training. Over the past fi ve years, scientists at Oklahoma State University and members of the technology group of the Oklahoma Mesonet in Norman worked together to develop OK-FIRE, an integrated, easy-to-use operational system for wildland fire management. A true success story, OK-FIRE continues to evolve, with growing numbers and variety of users, almost 20 million Website hits in 2010, and regular training workshops. Even more important is the fact that OK-FIRE is helping to pave the way for other states looking to build a comprehensive weather-based wildland fire management system.