Scion has produced a forecast of smoke plume dispersal for the large forest fire burning in Pigeon Valley near Wakefield.
The forecast was produced using the beta-version of a real-time smoke and fire spread prediction tool being developed by Scion’s Rural Fire Research team as part of its MBIE-funded ‘Preparing NZ for Extreme Fire’ research programme.
The smoke plume footprint provides a good indication of where the smoke will go for today and tomorrow (Feb. 6th – 7th), based on forecasted weather and wind directions.
The values shown are hourly averages of fine particulate matter concentrations (PM2.5). The model is for active fire burning in heavy pine forest fuels, so provides worst case probability of smoke concentrations, and therefore these should be used as indicatory only.
Anything orange or purple indicates higher probabilities of harmful smoke, while yellow indicates the extent of the smoke plume but concentrations are generally not considered harmful to public health.
For the vast majority of people, the smoke will be unpleasant but carries no major risk to their health. However those with asthma or other breathing conditions may be more severely affected. People should avoid exposure where possible by staying indoors with windows and doors closed.