Smoke Forecasts for Southern Wildfires

The Southern High Resolution Modeling Consortium (SHRMC) is providing daily forecasts of ground level particulate matter concentrations resulting from wildfires in the southeastern U.S. using the BlueSky smoke modeling framework developed by the U.S. Forest Service. Forecast results are displayed using Google Earth which provides an intuitive interface for displaying spatial information. Visit for more information and to use these products. (Posted June 4, 2007)

Fire Ecology

Fires in the southeastern United States have a direct effect on the biology, ecology, and economy of the region. Whether fires are naturally occurring or prescribed, having access to information describing impacts, benefits, prevention, and management is crucial. The Southeast Information Node works to provide information to:

  • Determine fire risk
  • Prevent wildfires
  • Study fire history
  • Keep up-to-date on the current safety procedures
  • Know how fire interacts with fuel, weather, and topography
  • Determine impacts to organisms and their environment
  • Use fire to restore/maintain ecosystems
  • Plan for emergency situations

A major partner in this effort is the Southern Fire Portal, part of the NBII's Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES). The goal of the Southern Fire Portal is to provides free and easy access to fire information through fire related publications, datasets, databases, decision-support tools, models, glossaries, interactive CD-ROMs, videos, and state-of-the-knowledge literature syntheses.

Southern Fire Portal

Southern Fire Portal logo
FRAMES - Southern Fire Portal

The Southern Fire Portal (SFP) is a geographic focus of the Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES).

The SFP improves fire science organization and accessibility by integrating and expanding three comprehensive, complementary sources of fire information:

  1. Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES)
  2. The Encyclopedia of Southern Fire Science (ESFS)
  3. The Tall Timbers Research Station E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database and Thesaurus.

As a nexus of fire effects information and technology transfer, the Southern Fire Portal is the Southeast's gateway for continuing collaboration between fire management and research communities and their publics.

Visit the SFP for fire-related research data, documents, projects, tools, and Web sites.

Web Resources for Fire in the Southeastern United States
Showing 10 of 25 ( Show All )

Wildfire and Drought

Prolonged drought lowers the normal moisture content of debris in forests and other wild lands, creating an overload of dry fuel in terrestrial ecosystems and increasing the potential for large, destructive wildfires. Prolonged dry spells tend to increase the intensity of forest fires as moisture content is rarely influenced by single precipitation events.

A popular measure of dryness is the Palmer Drought Severity Index, which factors temperature and rainfall information to estimate dryness for a localized area.

Palmer Drought Severity Index
[Image: U.S. Geological Survey]

Using the Palmer index, normal conditions fall near zero, while "extreme drought" registers at minus 4 and "extremely moist spell" registers at positive 4.

Other ways of monitoring drought in the Southeast include measuring water flow in rivers and streams. Even when precipitation is normal, water stored in the earth can be low during what is called a hydrologic drought and many rivers, streams, and wells register low flows. Streamflow maps can illustrate the extent of hydrologic drought.

Prolonged periods without rain stress plant communities, making them more susceptible to insects and disease and less competitive with invasive species. Dead and dying vegetation contributes further to the problem of excess dry fuel. Dry conditions also prevent use of prescribed fire, often used control invasive species.


Bullet pointUnderstanding and Defining Drought

Bullet pointFire Weather Forecasts

Bullet pointFire Weather Composite Maps

Bullet pointDay 3-8 Fire Weather Outlooks

Bullet pointNational Weather Service Fire Weather Page

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
About NBII | Accessibility Statement | NBII Disclaimer, Attribution & Privacy Statement | FOIA Logo       USGS Logo       USAgov Logo