On May 20, 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 151129 into law. This House Bill directs the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC), through its Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting (CoE), to establish and support a “Colorado Wildland Fire Prediction and Decision Support System.”
This system, which is also known as the Colorado Fire Prediction System (CO-FPS), will be based on the Coupled Atmosphere-Wildland Fire Environment (CAWFE) model that was developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. The CAWFE model combines a numerical weather-prediction model with a fire behavior module that describes the propagation of a wildland fire in response to terrain, fuels, temporally evolving weather, and weather’s impact on fuel moisture. The CAWFE model will be adapted by NCAR and DFPC into CO-FPS, which will give incident commanders and other decision-makers in Colorado the ability to easily and quickly predict the impact of a wildfire.
When implemented, CO-FPS will be able to predict fire extent, spread rate, heat release, winds, temperature, humidity, smoke concentration, and aviation hazards up to 18 hours in advance. CO-FPS will be integrated with the Colorado Wildfire Information Management System (COWIMS), providing system users with a web-based means to initiate the model and visualize the model’s outputs. The CoE has established a stakeholder committee to provide guidance on the features and desired performance of the system.
Inquiries regarding CO-FPS may be directed to the following contacts: