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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-227
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-227
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Nov 2018

Research article | 06 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Using cellular automata to simulate wildfire propagation and to assist in fire prevention and fighting

Joana G. Freire and Carlos C. DaCamara Joana G. Freire and Carlos C. DaCamara
  • Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL), Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal

Abstract. Cellular Automata have been successfully applied to simulate the propagation of wildfires with the aim of assisting fire managers in defining fire suppression tactics and in designing fire risk management policies. We present a Cellular Automata designed to simulate a severe wildfire episode that took place in Algarve (southern Portugal) in July 2012. During the episode almost 25 thousand hectares burned and there was an explosive stage between 25 and 33h after the onset. Results obtained show that the explosive stage is adequately modeled when introducing a non-local propagation rule where fire is allowed to spread to the nearest and next nearest cells depending on wind speed. When the rule is introduced deviations in modeled time of burning from estimated time based on hotspots detected from satellite have a root mean square difference of 8.7 hours for a simulation period of 46h (less than 20%). The simulated pattern of probabilities of burning as estimated from an ensemble of 100 simulations show a marked decrease out of the limits of the observed scar, indicating that the model represents an added value for fire fighting in what respects to the choice of locations to allocate resources for fire combat.

Joana G. Freire and Carlos C. DaCamara
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Status: open (until 01 Jan 2019)
Status: open (until 01 Jan 2019)
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Joana G. Freire and Carlos C. DaCamara
Joana G. Freire and Carlos C. DaCamara
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Cellular Automata are useful tools to simulate wildfire propagation. We design a Cellular Automata to simulate a severe wildfire that took place in Portugal in 2012 and resulted in almost 25 thousand hectares burned. The explosive stage is adequately modeled when refining the role played by the wind in fire spreading. Results show a probability of ignition out of the limits of the observed scar, an information that the model may help choosing locations to allocate resources for fire combat.
Cellular Automata are useful tools to simulate wildfire propagation. We design a Cellular...
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