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ISRN Meteorology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 429072, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/429072
Research Article

Fire Weather Index Implementation in the Alpine Area

1Regional Agency for Environmental Protection, Arpa Piemonte, Via Pio VII 9, 10135 Torino, Italy
2Forestry Environment Institute, IPLA S.p.A., Corso Casale 476, 10132 Torino, Italy

Received 19 July 2011; Accepted 17 August 2011

Academic Editor: F. Tao

Copyright © 2012 Daniele Cane et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Piedmont region is located in North-Western Italy and is surrounded by the alpine chain and by the Apennines. The region is covered by a wide extension of forests, mainly in its mountain areas (the forests cover 36% of the regional territory). In the period 1997–2007, Piedmont gained interest by an average of 378 wildfire events per year, covering an average of 1767 ha of forest per year. Meteorological conditions like long periods without precipitation contribute to create favourable conditions to forest fire development, while the fire propagation is made easier by the foehn winds, frequently interesting the region in winter and spring particularly. We applied the Fire Weather Index FWI (Van Wagner, 1987) to the Piedmont region on warning areas previously defined for fire management purposes (Cane et al., 2008). Here we present a new technique for the definition of thresholds in order to obtain alert levels more suited with the local conditions of the forest fire warning areas. We describe also the implementation of the prognostic FWI prediction system, involving the use of good forecasts of weather parameters at the station locations obtained by the Multimodel SuperEnsemble postprocessing technique.