Pilot study: Modeling of Wildfires

Wildfire is one of the oldest of natural phenomena. Fossil evidences of wildfires can be traced back long in time. Wildfires are also a global issue as every continent is being touched by wildfires – except for Antarctica. Further back in time fire was used by man to hunt, improve harvests, protection against predators etc. Wildfires have been and will always be an important part of nature, as for example some plant species are depending on wildfires occurring. Today wildfires are considered by many as a growing threat to society.

This pre-study is aimed at:
– Presenting what has been done in the wildfire modeling field during the years and mainly the last twenty years.
– Giving recommendations on the continued work with developing a Swedish wildfire model.
The method that was used was literature and article survey.
The study also looks into the required input data for a wildfire model and the input data available at the moment. This issue is highly crucial as the quality of the output of a wildfire model is depending upon the quality of the input data.


1. Introduction
2. Background
2.1 Wildfires
2.2 Decision support before, during and after a wildfire
2.3 The Swedish fire danger rating system
3. Method
3.1 Litterature and article survey
3.2 Physical model
4. Modeling of wildfires
4.1 Modeling of wildfires in general
4.2 Statistical models
4.2.1 FBP system
4.2.2 McArthur model
4.3 Semi-empirical models
4.3.1 Rothermel model (1972) Rothermel crown fire model (1991)
4.3.3 Van Wagner crown fire initiation and spread models (1977)
4.4 Physical models
4.4.1 Albini (1986)
4.4.2 Coupled atmosphere-fire model
4.4.3 Multiphase models Grishin et al. (1983) Grishin et al. (2002) Balbi et al. (1999) PIF97
4.4.4 WFDS
4.5 Available input data
4.5.1 Weather
4.5.2 Topography
4.5.3 Fuel
5. A simple physical model
5.1 Initial model
5.2 Three-dimensional model
5.2.1 Varying the specific heat of the fuel
5.2.2 The rate of spread over time
5.2.3 Flame tilt due to wind
5.2.4 Varying the fireline intensity
5.2.5 Computational time
6. Analysis and discussion
7. Conclusions
7.1 Conclusions
7.2 Further work
8. References

Author: Rickard Hansen

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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