19 Feb 2024
 | 19 Feb 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

An Efficient Method to Simulate Wildfire Propagation Using Irregular Grids

Conor Hackett, Rafael de Andrade Moral, Gourav Mishra, Tim McCarthy, and Charles Markham

Abstract. Climate change and land-use changes are projected to make wildfires more frequent and intense, with a global increase of extreme fires of up to 14 % by 2030, 30 % by the end of 2050 and 50 % by the end of the century (Sullivan et al., 2022). This latest information has increased interest of how the large scale, often catastrophic, events can be reduced and more effectively managed. One critical area revolves around real-time fire line prediction and how resources can be better deployed to reduce the propagation of wildfires. This paper explores mathematical models for fire propagation on a fully configurable grid using the Irregular Grid Software (IGS) developed. The configurable grid allows cross comparison of both regular grids such as square, hexagonal, triangular, and irregular grids such as a randomly seeded Voronoi diagram and a flammable resolution grid (FRG). The FRG is adapted to focus attention on areas of higher importance which provides greater precision at the cost of extra computing time. The irregular grid approach and ForeFire, an existing industry standard program were compared. The comparison included simulations of wildfires located in the Wicklow Mountains, in Ireland, a region used by the fire services for exercises. The performance of the gridbased techniques was examined using a set of experiments to characterise the model’s response to key factors such as wind, elevation, and fuel type. The results show that the IGS runs on average 34 times quicker than ForeFire while retaining an average result similarity of 80 % with ForeFire. In this paper sections 1 and 2 will give an overview on existing research on wildfires and wildfire modelling. Section 3 will describe the resources that were necessary to model wildfire propagation. Section 4 explains how these resources were used to build the IGS. Section 5 compares different gird types produced using the IGS, while section 6 compares the IGS to ForeFire. Sections 7 and 8 discus these results.

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Conor Hackett, Rafael de Andrade Moral, Gourav Mishra, Tim McCarthy, and Charles Markham

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on nhess-2024-27', carolina ojeda leal, 21 Feb 2024 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on CC1', Conor Hackett, 23 Feb 2024 reply
      • AC2: 'Reply on AC1', Conor Hackett, 12 Mar 2024 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2024-27', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Mar 2024 reply
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC1', Conor Hackett, 08 Apr 2024 reply
Conor Hackett, Rafael de Andrade Moral, Gourav Mishra, Tim McCarthy, and Charles Markham
Conor Hackett, Rafael de Andrade Moral, Gourav Mishra, Tim McCarthy, and Charles Markham


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Short summary
This paper reviews existing wildfire propagation models and a comparison of different grid types including random grids to simulate wildfires. This paper finds that irregular grids simulate wildfires more efficiently than continuous models while still retaining a reasonable level of similarity. It also shows that irregular grids tend to retain greater similarity to continuous models than regular grids at the cost of slightly longer computational times.