ARL News

ARL dispersion capability central to western fire response


June 30, 2005

The ARL Special Operations and Research Division (SORD) in Las Vegas is set up to develop and test dispersion models dedicated to the complex terrain surroundings of the Nevada Test Site (NTS). To this end, ARL operates a dispersion mesonet covering a substantial part of southern Nevada. In the last few days, the ARL dispersion capability has been thoroughly tested, as a result of large brush fires intruding on to the NTS across its western boundary. The fire threatens a RADEX (radiologically contaminated) area. Safety and health concerns arise, due to the potential lofting of radioactive material into the atmosphere. SORD has provided numerous dispersion forecasts and plume projections to NTS management, making comprehensive use of the ARL dispersion mesonet and mobile meteorological equipment. The overall dispersion system, designed by SORD, allows NTS meteorological data and dispersion forecasts to be displayed in real-time for the DOE/NTS Emergency Operations Center.

In addition, efforts to seek a cause for fires in the southwest have made extensive use of lightning data from the ARL network.

Contact information: Darryl Randerson
Phone: (702) 295-1231