What is the BlueSky Framework?

The BlueSky Framework is a modeling framework designed to facilitate the operation of predictive models that simulate cumulative smoke impacts, air quality, and emissions from forest, agricultural, and range fires. The BlueSky Framework allows users to combine state-of-the-science emissions, meteorological, and dispersion models to generate results based on the best available models. However, the BlueSky Framework is not itself a model. It is simply a model management system, or framework, that offers the architecture for multiple and varied models to communicate with each other in a modular, user-driven environment.

The BlueSky Framework is an open-source modeling platform that can utilize many different model choices at each step. Currently, most BlueSky Framework implementations use the FCCS fuel loading map and Emissions Production Model (EPM) created by the US Forest Service's Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) Team, as well as the CALPUFF puff-disperson model. However, the National Weather Service (NWS) uses the BlueSky Framework with the HYSPLIT dispersion model. BlueSky's main use to date is in modeling fine-scale (less than 2.5 micron) particulate matter. PM2.5, as it is known, is an air pollutant regulated under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

The BlueSky Framework was created through the close collaboration of land management and air quality regulators and scientific researchers. The BlueSky Framework is governed by the BlueSky Consortium with the USDA Forest Service AirFire Team taking the lead responsibility for scientific development. Experimental predictions enabled with the BlueSky Framework have been ongoing since 2003. The benefits of the BlueSky Framework are being applied currently by the regional Fire Consortium for the Advanced Modeling of Meteorology and Smoke (FCAMMS) and the NWS.

The BlueSky Framework can use a variety of fire information sources, and it has led to the development of the SMARTFIRE fire information system. SMARTFIRE uses NOAA Hazard Mapping System satellite fire detects in conjunction with ground reports from systems such as ICS-209 Reports to create a reconciled fire information data feed. SMARTFIRE was developed by the USDA Forest Service AirFire Team and Sonoma Technology, Inc. through a cooperative research agreement funded by NASA.