ARAC dispersion modeling of the August 1998 Tracy, California tire fire

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At about 4:30 pm PDT on Friday, August 7, 1998 a fire ignited the large tire disposal pit of Royster Tire Co. on Macarthur Drive about 5 km (3 miles) south of downtown Tracy, California. While providing on-scene mutual aid late Friday night, the LLNL Fire Department called and requested that the Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) make a plume forecast for Saturday. The response team in the field was interested in the forecasted location as well as an estimate of potential health effects on the following day. Not having any previous experience with tire fire source terms, ARAC assessors ... continued below

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Aluzzi, F J; Baskett, R L; Bowen, B M; Foster, C S; Pace, J C; Pobanz, B et al. August 28, 1998.

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Description

At about 4:30 pm PDT on Friday, August 7, 1998 a fire ignited the large tire disposal pit of Royster Tire Co. on Macarthur Drive about 5 km (3 miles) south of downtown Tracy, California. While providing on-scene mutual aid late Friday night, the LLNL Fire Department called and requested that the Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) make a plume forecast for Saturday. The response team in the field was interested in the forecasted location as well as an estimate of potential health effects on the following day. Not having any previous experience with tire fire source terms, ARAC assessors used a constant unit source rate (1 g/s) of particulate and produced plots showing only the location of the ground-level normalized time-integrated air concentrations from the smoke plume. Very early Saturday morning the assessors faxed plots of ground-level smoke air concentrations forecasted for Saturday from 6 am through 6 pm PDT to the Tracy Fire Emergency Operations Center. (As a part of standard procedure, before delivering the plots, the assessors notified ARAC's DOE sponsor.) Fortunately due to the intense heat from the fire, the dense black smoke immediately lofted into the air preventing high ground-level concentrations close to the tire dump. Later on Saturday morning ARAC forecasted a second set of plume integrated air concentrations for Sunday. By Monday the intensity of the fire lessened, and ARAC's support was no longer requested. Following ARAC's response, we made a third calculation on a large scale of the continuous smoke dispersion for 3 days after the fire. A newspaper photograph showed the plume initially rising toward the northeast and the upper part of the smoke cloud turning counterclockwise toward the north. Winds from ARAC's mesoscale prognostic model reproduced this plume structure, while data from the Friday afternoon sounding from Oakland did not. On the 250 km scale, using gridded wind outputs from our mesoscale forecast model to initialize the dispersion model produced more realistic results than interpolating between the sparse surface and upper air wind observations available from airports. Dispersion model results showed that some of the smoke eventually mixed down to the ground to the east and south of the fire Friday night. News articles also indicated smoke extending over Manteca, Lathrop, and Modesto Friday night. More elevated smoke was brought to the ground due to the extensive daytime vertical mixing on Saturday and Sunday. The model results reflected these observations showing wide patterns of diffuse ground-level smoke extended along the San Joaquin Valley from Sacramento to Fresno on Saturday and Sunday.

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  • Other: DE00008221
  • Report No.: UCRL-ID-131759
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/8221 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 8221
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc782946

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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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  • August 28, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 9 p.m.

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Aluzzi, F J; Baskett, R L; Bowen, B M; Foster, C S; Pace, J C; Pobanz, B et al. ARAC dispersion modeling of the August 1998 Tracy, California tire fire, report, August 28, 1998; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782946/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.