Modeling Multiple-Core Updraft Plume Rise for an Aerial Ignition Prescribed Burn by Coupling Daysmoke with a Cellular Automata Fire Model
Smoke plume rise is critically dependent on plume updraft structure. Smoke plumes from landscape burns (forest and agricultural burns) are typically structured into “sub-plumes” or multiple-core updrafts with the number of updraft cores depending on characteristics of the landscape, fire, fuels, and weather. The number of updraft cores determines the efficiency of vertical transport of heat and particulate matter and therefore plume rise. Daysmoke, an empirical-stochastic plume rise model designed for simulating wildland fire plumes, requires updraft core number as an input. In this study, updraft core number was gained via a cellular automata fire model applied to an aerial ignition prescribed burn conducted at Eglin AFB on 6 February 2011. Typically four updraft cores were simulated in agreement with a photo-image of the plume showing three/four distinct sub-plumes. Other Daysmoke input variables were calculated including maximum initial updraft core diameter, updraft core vertical velocity, and relative emissions production. Daysmoke simulated a vertical tower that mushroomed 1,000 m above the mixing height. Plume rise was validated by ceilometer. Simulations with two temperature profiles found 89–93 percent of the PM2.5 released during the flaming phase was transported into the free atmosphere above the mixing layer. The minimal ground-level smoke concentrations were verified by a small network of particulate samplers. Implications of these results for inclusion of wildland fire smoke in air quality models are discussed.