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CAWFE (Coupled Atmosphere-Wildland Fire-Environment) is a coupled weather - wildland fire computational model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research with contributions from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service Missoula Fire Laboratory and U.S.D.A. Forest Service Riverside Fire Laboratory. The modeling system couples the Clark-Hall numerical weather prediction model with a wildland fire behavior model such that simulated atmospheric winds directed the speed and direction of the wildland fire, which burns through wildland fuels, releasing heat and water vapor that in turn alter the atmospheric winds in the vicinity of the fire, thus feeding back on the fire behavior. The physics components of the fire behavior module include a surface fire rate of spread component; a post-frontal heat release component to capture the heat released from ignited fuel that the fireline has passed; a canopy fire model that heats, dries, and then if a specified heat flux still remains, ignites the canopy; and an upscaling mechanism that distributes the heat from the fire back into the weather model. The fireline, the subgrid interface between ignite and unignited fuel, is implemented by a tracer scheme. The modeling system was written in Fortran 77.


Contact Janice Coen.

File format


Programming language and environments

FORTRAN 77 with m4 preprocessor, C


Terry L. Clark, William D. Hall, and Janice L. Coen, Source code documentation for the Clark-Hall cloud-scale model code version G3CH01, National Center for Atmospheric Research, May 1996



  • Coen, J. L. and C. C. Douglas, 2010: Computational modeling of large wildfires. 9th Intl. Symp. on Distributed Computing and Applications to Business, Engineering and Science (DCABES 2010), to appear.
  • Coen, J. L., 2005: Simulation of the Big Elk Fire using coupled atmosphere-fire modeling. Journal of Wildland Fire, 14, 49-59.
  • Clark, T. L., Coen, J. L., Latham, D., 2004: Description of a coupled atmosphere-fire model. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 13, 49-63.
  • Clark, T. L., Jenkins, M. A., Coen, J., Packham, D., 1996: A Coupled Atmospheric-Fire Model: Convective Feedback on Fire Line Dynamics. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 35, 875-901.

See also