NEI Fire Emissions


We have been trying to map the Fire emissions from prescribed burning and wildfires from the 2020 NEI files from July 01, 2020 to July 10, 2020. However we are not getting any emission data as every species (pm2.5, ch4, co, etc) of all the days mentioned above at all hours are zeros. Has anyone encountered issues with using NEI Fire emissions? Or did anyone work with these specific dates for prescribed burning and/or wildfires?

Thank you!

Good morning,

The July 1 - July 10 2020 time period have both prescribed and wildfire attributed emissions in the 2020 NEI point flat files. Are you trying to process the fire emissions through SMOKE? If so, I recommend starting with the input files and scripts provided as part of the 2020 emissions modeling platform:

Good morning James,

Thank you for your answer. I am trying to prepare input emissions files for a WRF-Chem simulation. I wanted to analyze and map those emissions before running a simulation. While other anthropogenic sectors have data, the fire sectors including wildfires and prescribed burning have no data at all; all are reading zeros. Would you know why that is?



It is not clear based on what you have shared why you are getting all zeros for wildland fires. If you are running SMOKE would you mind sharing your scripts and any associated logs?

Good morning James,

I am not trying to run SMOKE but WRF-Chem. I am trying to use the NEI fire emissions instead of the FINN emissions. In the stack_files, the following variables have negative values: ‘STKDH’, ‘STKHT’, ‘STKTK’, ‘STKVE’, ‘STKFLW’. Other non-fire sectors have positive values for these variables. We are not sure if that is why we are getting all zeros for wildland fires, or if there is another issue.



The STKDH, STKHT, STKTK, STKVE, and STKFLW are release point stack parameters used for point emissions. Fires have their plume rise estimated in SMOKE or CMAQ using the sensible heat flux (HFLUX) as described in the SMOKE documentation: 4.6. Laypoint
It is expected that those release point stack parameters are all negative for fires.

Are you able to view the variable values in the inline files to confirm that the emissions are non-zero?


Hi James,

That makes much sense from the calculations. However, the negative values from these parameters are quite high and up to - 9.996e+36. Do you think these values are realistically correct?

Regarding the inline files, the emissions are non-zeros.


The -9.99e36 can be considered null and those stack parameters should be ignored. Only the heat flux is used for fire plume rise. The release point stack configuration parameters, except location, are not used and not valid.

Hello James,

That makes sense. Thank you for your input! Would you know if there is a way to convert the ACRES BURNED variable to equivalent plume rise like the STKHGT in the non-fire sectors as the fortran code from NCAR for WRF-Chem uses it?


There is not a way to directly convert heat output and area burned to release point stack parameters. You can estimate the plume rise for the fires by running the inventories through SMOKE with laypoint (4.6.3. Files and Environment Variables). The output will be vertically allocated emissions in a set of 3D gridded files rather than the inline emissions file set. This requires meteorological inputs along with ancillary emissions processing files.

I have not developed fire emissions specifically for WRF-Chem but my understanding is that there is a way to prepare the FINN fire emissions using a preprocessor (fire_emis). Perhaps the preprocessor could be adapted to use the 2020 NEI flat file inventories.