The forest fire in the Czech Switzerland National Park has been filling the front pages of the Czech media for several days now. However, the risk of similar events also exists in other locations and can be expressed relatively precisely. At the same time, a number of factors come into play, such as temperature and air humidity, soil saturation with water, wind speed, precipitation and other influences.
Web FireRisk application focuses on expressing the risk of fire in individual areas of our republic in an easy-to-understand form. The interactive map provides an indication of the degree of risk for the next seven days through a five-level color scale – from green (negligible risk), through yellow, orange and red, to purple (high risk).
Fire risk prediction
Scientists from the Institute of Global Change Research of the Academy of Sciences (CzechGlobe) and the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute are working on the unique project. Its main goal is to facilitate the work of the state administration and municipalities that announce preventive measures.
When you click on the selected area, it will be displayed graphs expressing the development of the risk level over time, relative soil saturation, expected temperatures, wind speed and atmospheric stability. Based on this data, the predicted risk of a natural fire breaking out in a given area can be estimated.
According to the instructions for using the website, it is possible within the application “To obtain information about the level of risk at the level of the cadastral territory. The information on the portal is updated daily, and in addition to the description of the situation for the selected day, the information is also available one day back and in the form of a forecast for 7 days ahead.”
How is fire risk predicted?
The authors describe in detail how the predictions are actually made. They are particularly important in this regard fire weather index values The Fire Weather Index (a forest fire risk estimate calculated by Météo France and the Canadian Meteorological Service) and the Forest Fire Danger Index (a forest fire danger index developed in the 1960s by scientist AG McArthur).
The forecast is based on five forecast meteorological models: IFS of the European Center for Medium-Range Forecasting, GFS of the American Center for Atmospheric Research, GEM of the Canadian Meteorological Centre, UK Global of the British Meteorological Service and ARPEGE of the French Meteorological Service.
Individual models can understandably provide (often significantly) different results, which must be corrected and interpolated. Based on retrospective evaluation, experts know the weaknesses and strengths of each of the models used and can take them into account in further forecasts.