The sub-seasonal forest fire risk outlook successfully piloted during the fire season 2020 in Finland

Andrea Vajda (FMI)

The sub-seasonal forest fire risk outlook prototype developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute within the framework of SERV_FORFIRE project was piloted for the second time during the fire season 2020 with Finnish end-users. The end-users involved were the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) from Northern Finland and the Finnish Rescue Services from North Karelia. The newly developed sub-seasonal fire risk forecast product complements the already existing forest fire risk monitoring system and the short-range forest fire warnings. Predicting forest fire weather conditions a few weeks in advance allows fire authorities and rescue services to prepare and take sufficient provision of resources for potential forest fires earlier in advance.

The probability of fire danger was predicted using a statistical model originating from the Finnish Forest Fire Index (FFI) and the post-processed sub-seasonal system data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The six-week forest fire risk outlooks were produced in an automated operational system and disseminated to the users during April-September through a web-based delivery platform (Fig. 1). The forecasts were updated twice a week.

Following the pilot season, a feedback survey was conducted among the users to gather their opinion about the usability of the sub-seasonal forest fire risk outlook prototype. 85% of the respondents found the sub-seasonal fire risk forecast product very useful or useful when planning the fire survey flights and 90% indicated their willingness to use the forecasts in the future.

Figure 1. Sub-seasonal forest fire risk climate outlooks issued to the end-users for testing through the web-based delivery platform Ilmanet (example from June 19, 2020).

SERV_FORFIRE project , Tuesday 30 March 2021