Climate Ecosystem Fire Applications (CEFA)

Program Description

The Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Applications (CEFA) program provides products and information related to climate, weather, fire and natural resources nationwide and internationally. Collaborating with numerous federal, state and international wildland fire and land management agencies, CEFA provides data, information and decision-support tools for planning and policy.


The primary functions of CEFA are:

  • Perform studies and applied research to improve the understanding of relationships between climate, weather, fire and ecosystems.
  • Develop decision-support tools for fire applications incorporating climate and weather information.
  • Serve as a liaison between the fire, natural resource and scientific research communities by providing product training, education, science delivery, and eliciting user feedback.
  • Provide experimental fire weather, fire danger, fire behavior and smoke dispersion/transport forecasting products for operations and research.
  • Perform societal interactions studies emphasizing partnerships and the role of climate in planning and policy.
  • Provide climate and weather information directly for fire and ecosystem decision-making and strategic planning.

The Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Application program was formed on October 1, 1998, through an assistance agreement between the Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office and DRI.

CEFA resides within the Division of Atmospheric Sciences of DRI, and is integrated with the Western Regional Climate Center.

CEFA utilizes modern computing laboratories for data analysis and scientific visualization supporting the applications products that are routinely produced for wildland fire management agencies.

CEFA includes both operational support products and applications research. Examples include:


Current and recent projects

  • Modeling of Smoke Inversions using WRF
  • Physical and societal understanding of extreme fire events
  • National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) drought-wildfire nexus
  • Developing a Wildfire Component for the NIDIS California Drought Early Warning System
  • Building online tools to assess smoke and fog combined high-impact events (Superfog)
  • Risk and decision making in wildland fire management
  • Determining criteria for messaging NWS Red Flag warnings
  • Understanding the impact of climate change on fire weather variables in Victoria, Australia
  • Developing a fire weather and fire danger historical climatology for Victoria, Australia


Dr. Timothy J. Brown
Director, WRCC and CEFA



Domagoj Podnar
Assistant Research Computer Scientist


Hauss Reinbold
Hourly Assistant Research Scientist


Dr. Tamara Wall
Deputy Director, WRCC
Associate Research Professor



Dr. Adam Watts
Associate Research Professor, Fire Ecology

Matt Fearon
Assistant Research Scientist

Sarah Jakober
Graduate Research Assistant

Skylar Smith
Graduate Research Assistant

CEFA’s Partners

  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • Bureau of Land Management California State Office
  • California Air Resources Board
  • Country Fire Authority, Victoria, Australia
  • Department of Environment, Land and Water Planning, Victoria, Australia
  • DOI Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center
  • Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District
  • National Park Service
  • NOAA National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
  • NOAA RISA California and Nevada Applications Program
  • San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • USDA Forest Service Wildland Fire Management RD&A
  • USDA Forest Service Region 5
  • USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station
  • USDA Forest Service Washington Office




    Tim Brown, Ph.D.
    Program Director 


    Desert Research Institute
    2215 Raggio Parkway
    Reno, NV 89512


    Atmospheric Sciences