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PyreCast, A Near-Term Fire Forecasting Tool

Chris Lautenberger demonstrates PyreCast, Pyregence’s near-term fire forecasting tool. This webinar was recorded on June 22, 2022.

Chris Lautenberger, Reax Engineering

Chris is a Fire Protection Engineer based in Northern California with expertise in fire science, fire dynamics, fire modelling, and forensic fire reconstruction. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley where he majored in combustion and studied pyrolysis and solid-phase combustion. Chris currently leads a workgroup on a project funded by the California Energy Commission to develop next-generation near-term wildland fire spread and risk models. He has co-taught Masters-level courses in Fire Dynamics and Fire Modeling in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

The Pyregence project consortium has developed under a California Energy Commission EPIC grant a modeling framework and easy to access web-based software tools (PyreCast – to improve wildfire situational awareness for electric utilities, wildfire professionals, and the public. 

The PyreCast system provides three wildfire forecasting tools applicable in the continental US including:

1) 8-day fire weather forecasts

2) 5-day fire risk forecast (California only)

3) 4-day fire spread forecast

This webinar covers:

  • An overview of PyreCast forecasting tools
  • The methodology/models and sources of inputs used to generate fire forecasts
  • Current predictive capabilities and forecast skill will be evaluated by comparing modeled and observed fire perimeters
  • Areas where additional research is needed, including limitations of underlying models