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From Ignition to Insights: AccuWeather Forensics reconstructs destructive wildfire



In 2021, a significant wildfire impacted the Pacific Northwest, and AccuWeather's Forensic Meteorology team used advanced tools and expertise to reconstruct the fire's events, providing expert insights.

Key Highlights

Extreme heat and dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest created ideal circumstances for the emergence of large, destructive wildfires.

Using state-of-the-art technologies, AccuWeather's forensic meteorology team accurately pinpointed the fire's ignition time, tracked its rapid spread, and defined its boundary area within a 5-minute range.

AccuWeather's expertise led to creation of minute-by-minute high-resolution satellite images that conveyed the wildfire's story.

In the summer of 2021, a wildfire significantly impacted the Pacific Northwest. AccuWeather's Forensic Meteorology team provided crucial insights into the fire's origin, spread, and potential causes. Using advanced tools and expertise, they reconstructed the sequence of events and shed light on essential aspects of the incident.

During the summer of 2021, extremely hot and dry conditions took hold over the Pacific Northwest and were favorable for developing large, destructive wildfires. In the months following, the AccuWeather Forensic Meteorology team, using the latest science and proprietary technologies, was retained to reconstruct the precise ignition time and immediate spread of a large, damaging wildfire that began in the area.

>>READ MORE: Five steps to selecting a forensic meteorologist

Minute-by-minute high-resolution satellite images of the wildfire's progression were produced by AccuWeather's forensic meteorology team. The innovative tools also enabled AccuWeather’s forensic meteorologists to determine the rate of intensification, where the fire was spreading, and the fire boundary area in the days following.wildfire2

After gathering the data, AccuWeather Forensic Meteorologists reconstructed various high-resolution satellite images, which told a compelling minute-by-minute story. Weeks after AccuWeather’s insights were provided to the customer, an official government report, published independently, validated the accuracy of AccuWeather’s key facts, such as the fire ignition point and timing.

>>READ MORE: AccuWeather's forensics: Answering your most frequently asked questions

The AccuWeather Forensic team also provides its expertise in the possible origin of a fire. The team has decades of experience evaluating complex lightning datasets to determine, to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, if a lightning strike occurred at a precise location. The team can lean into its collective expertise in reconstructing weather conditions to help answer questions such as, “Were the wind direction and speed favorable for the fire to spread to the property on the date of loss?” and “When did the winds shift direction and move into the neighborhood?” and also, “Were the weather conditions still favorable for wildfires five days later?”

To learn more about the valuable fire expertise of our forensic meteorology team and how we can help provide these unique insights to support your fire case, please visit AccuWeather's Forensics Services and connect with their team of experts.

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