QES-Fire: a dynamically coupled fast-response wildfire model


A microscale wildfire model, QES-Fire, that dynamically couples the fire front to microscale winds was developed using a simplified physics rate of spread (ROS) model, a kinematic plume- rise model and a mass-consistent wind solver. The model is three-dimensional and couples fire heat fluxes to the wind field while being more computationally efficient than other coupled models. The plume-rise model calculates a potential velocity field scaled by the ROS model’s fire heat flux. Distinct plumes are merged using a multiscale plume-merging methodology that can efficiently represent complex fire fronts. The plume velocity is then superimposed on the ambient winds and the wind solver enforces conservation of mass on the combined field, which is then fed into the ROS model and iterated on until convergence. QES-Fire’s ability to represent plume rise is evaluated by comparing its results with those from an atmospheric large-eddy simulation (LES) model. Additionally, the model is compared with data from the FireFlux II field experiment. QES-Fire agrees well with both the LES and field experiment data, with domain-integrated buoyancy fluxes differing by less than 17% between LES and QES-Fire and less than a 10% difference in the ROS between QES-Fire and FireFlux II data.

International Journal of Wildland Fire, 31(3), 306–325
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Dr. Jeremy A. Gibbs
Dr. Jeremy A. Gibbs
Research Meteorologist

My name is Jeremy Gibbs. I am a Research Meteorologist at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. My research includes computational and theoretical studies of atmospheric boundary-layer flows, turbulence modeling, land-surface modeling, parameterization of boundary-layer and surface-layer interactions, and multi-scale numerical weather prediction. I am currently working on projects to improve atmospheric models in the areas of scale-aware boundary-layer physics, heterogeneous boundary layers, and other storm-scale phenomena.