Providing Meteorological Information for Controlled Burns at the Savannah River Site

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Regional and local weather information are important for a variety of applications at the Savannah River Site (SRS), a Department of Energy (DOE) facility covering approximately 800 square kilometers of southwest South Carolina east of the Savannah River. For example, meteorological observations and forecasts are used to assess the consequences of an accidental radiological or chemical release. Traditionally, hazards posed by SRS operations have been associated with nuclear reactors, chemical reprocessing plants, fuel fabrication, or waste-vitrification facilities. However, recent events have shown site-specific meteorology to be a valuable tool to the United States Forest Service (USFS) in mitigating potential hazards ... continued below

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Buckley, R. October 4, 1999.

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Regional and local weather information are important for a variety of applications at the Savannah River Site (SRS), a Department of Energy (DOE) facility covering approximately 800 square kilometers of southwest South Carolina east of the Savannah River. For example, meteorological observations and forecasts are used to assess the consequences of an accidental radiological or chemical release. Traditionally, hazards posed by SRS operations have been associated with nuclear reactors, chemical reprocessing plants, fuel fabrication, or waste-vitrification facilities. However, recent events have shown site-specific meteorology to be a valuable tool to the United States Forest Service (USFS) in mitigating potential hazards from controlled burns that are conducted at the SRS. Prescribed burns at the SRS are important for a variety of reasons. The removal of thick undergrowth allows wildlife to more easily feed and migrate, accelerates the growth of young pine stands, and controls certain diseases that affect local pine forests (e.g. Adams et al. 1973). In addition, the removal of twigs, pine needles, or leaves (a fuel source) reduces the chance of serious wildfire damage. However, the threat of smoke inhalation and reduced visibility requires careful planning on the part of the fire professionals. At the SRS, approximately 100 square kilometers of land per year are burned in a controlled manner, mainly in the spring.To reduce the potentially harmful effects to any onsite activity, it is important that USFS personnel understand current and predicted weather patterns within the area. This paper discusses two sources of meteorological information that are provided to SRS-USFS personnel for use in planning forest burns: (1) a meteorological tower system which provides current data from a series of onsite locations, and (2) an operational prognostic mesoscale model used to generate forecast information. The forecast data supplements the basic National Weather Service (NWS) fire weather forecasts obtained from Columbia, South Carolina.For each of these data sources, illustrations of products are presented.

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  • Third Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology, Long Beach, CA (US), 01/09/2000--01/14/2000

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  • Report No.: WSRC-MS-99-00659
  • Grant Number: AC09-96SR18500
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 13812
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc623985

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • October 4, 1999

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  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 6:11 p.m.

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Buckley, R. Providing Meteorological Information for Controlled Burns at the Savannah River Site, article, October 4, 1999; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc623985/: accessed April 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.