HRRR Smoke supports western U.S. fire response

Image of output from the HRRR Smoke Model showing smoke concentrations over the Western section of the Continental U.S.

August 14, 2018

The High-Resolution Rapid Refresh-Smoke (HRRR Smoke) model is being used by the NWS forecast offices across the U.S. to support air quality and visibility forecasts used in decision-making by emergency services offices, the National Park Service, and even transportation companies. The HRRR Smoke model simulates the emissions and transport of smoke from wildfires to help NOAA NWS forecast offices provide core partners and the public information about the movement of wildfire smoke.

"Core partners can't be without it here at CalOES SOC (California Office of Emergency Services State Operations Center," said Bill Rausch, Scientific Operations Officer at the NWSFO in Sacramento, CA.

A NWS Incident-Meteorologist used HRRR Smoke in their briefings to the National Park Service. While the fires remained outside Yosemite National Park boundaries, the smoke caused such poor air-quality that emergency managers were forced to evacuate and close areas. The closure is the longest in nearly two decades and has a devastating impact on tourism in the region.

AMTRAK used HRRR Smoke to make the decision temporarily suspend bus service in the Ferguson fire area due to poor visibility and air quality.

HRRR Smoke images have been seen on national news outlets such as CNN, Mashable, NBC News, and CBS Evening News.

A HRRR Smoke image was the top tweet of the week for the NWS Salt Lake City with 441 likes, 1984 reactions, comments and shares, and a reach of 62,205. This tweet made number 50 on the list of great government tweets for the day.

HRRR Smoke is planned to be included in the HRRRv4 implementation in 2020.

For more information contact: Susan Cobb 303-497-5093