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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

The largest proportion of fires by area in Mississippi over the last 17 years occurred in the southern coastal fire management district. This large number of fires directly impacts ecosystem elasticity and reduces coastal resilience to natural (or human-induced) disasters. A new concern for Gulf coastal environments is post-hurricane re-settlement of people from the coast into traditional ‘wildland’ areas. Increased numbers of ‘built’ structures in wildland areas has resulted in significant expansion of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). Human ‘quality of life’ concerns (air/water quality) often conflict with controlled burning needs in wildland areas proximal to the new ‘settlements’. We propose to enhance the USDA/USFS Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) by integrating information from NASA satellites, numerical models and research results into the Eastern Fire Potential Model (EFPM) with emphasis on Gulf of Mexico coastal environments. Our enhancements support the goals of The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Governors’ Action Plan for Healthy and Resilient Coasts by providing decision support information for natural resource managers that are tasked with mitigating the effects of wildfires. Our fire potential products can improve controlled burning plans to minimize impacts to humans and the natural environments. We will verify the effectiveness of EFPM to meet operational requirements; quantify improvements in the performance of EFPM; characterize risks and uncertainties in the process; transition our research toward operations at the USFS Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program; and document improvements in decision making processes and socio-economic benefits. These research activities are directly relevant to NASA's role in the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS), demonstrating the usefulness of remotely sensed observations to find solutions for critical national applications. Our methodologies will also be able to readily take advantage of future observations from the NPP/VIIRS, Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), GOES-R and Global precipitation Measurement (GPM) missions.

Project PI: William Cooke/GeoResources Institute

Assistant Professor-Mississippi State University, Research Scientist-GeoResources Institute Box 9652, Mississippi State, MS 39762

Phone: (601)325-9479

Fax: (601)325-9423

Email: whc5@geosci.msstate.edu

http://geosciences.msstate.edu/people/cooke/cookeCV.pdf

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011

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