Wild Fires Experiment - Test
The WiFE test program was conducted on the C-130 during six weeks in September and October of 1998 (spanning FY98/99). The program was intended to access the viability of various remote sensing devices in the study of wildfire behavior in complex terrain. The aircraft traveled to wildfire sites throughout the intermountain west and California. The instrumentation package included a digital thermal camera, a US Forest Service spectral radiometer, remote surface temperature sensors and the full suite of RAF state parameters to record 3-D wind fields and humidity profiles. NCAR's microwave scanning device AIMR was used to estimate the amount of biomass surrounding the fires and also directly measured brightness temperatures while passing over the fires. Additional measurements of certain key chemical species, such as the CO/CO2 ratio and NMHC's provided information on combustion efficiencies.
The principal investigators were Larry Radke (NCAR/ATD) and Terry Clark (NCAR/MMM). The resulting data set is being used to help test and refine the performance of Clark's computer simulations of wildfire behavior. The WiFE test program was supported by staff from RAF under the leadership of Project Manager Allan Schanot.