Land managers in the Flint Hills region of Kansas wanted a way to predict how smoke from prescribed burns would affect air quality in local cities. STI’s team of meteorologists, fire scientists, and software engineers developed a prescribed burn smoke modeling system that provides daily smoke predictions and sub-county burn recommendations that help avoid air quality impacts in the nearby communities. The decision support system has become an integral part of the Kansas Department of Health & Environment’s smoke management plan.
The modeling system uses HYSPLIT simulations to generate daily smoke predictions; these predictions are reviewed by STI meteorologists to make sure they are consistent with weather forecasts. STI meteorologists also provide text discussions explaining the weather factors affecting smoke dispersion, transport, and accumulation. STI also developed an intuitive website to provide the public with access to the forecasts.