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Title: Applying fire spread simulators in New Zealand and Australia: Results from an international seminar

Author: Opperman, Tonja; Gould, Jim; Finney, Mark; Tymstra, Cordy

Date: 2006

Source: In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 201-212

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: There is currently no spatial wildfire spread and growth simulation model used commonly across New Zealand or Australia. Fire management decision-making would be enhanced through the use of spatial fire simulators. Various groups from around the world met in January 2006 to evaluate the applicability of different spatial fire spread applications for common use in both New Zealand and Australia. Developers and researchers from Canada, the United States, and Australia were invited to apply Prometheus, FARSITE, and other similar models to New Zealand and Australian wildfires in grass, scrub, and forested fuel types. Although the lack of site-specific fuel models and weather data were a concern, coarse spatial and temporal data inputs proved adequate for modeling fires within a reasonable margin of error. The choice of grass models proved less important than expected since spread rates were easily manipulated through moisture content values during calibration. The final modeled perimeters are affected by several user inputs that are impossible to separate from model error. These various inputs exist to allow experienced users to approximate local environmental variability as closely as possible to obtain successful outputs. Rather than attempt to quantify direct comparisons, local users concluded it was more important to choose an application that provides an appropriate level of functionality, that is compatible with current data and fire management systems, and that can be easily modified to use unique and varied fire spread equations. Prometheus and FARSITE performed very well and will be further investigated to understand how each might be customized for use with local fire spread models. This paper describes the process and results of testing some existing fire growth simulation models for use on fires in New Zealand and Australia.

Keywords: fire, fire ecology, fuels management, wildfire spread and growth simulation models, spatial fire simulators, New Zealand, Australia, Prometheus, FARSITE

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Opperman, Tonja; Gould, Jim; Finney, Mark; Tymstra, Cordy 2006. Applying fire spread simulators in New Zealand and Australia: Results from an international seminar. In: Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W., comps. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings. 28-30 March 2006; Portland, OR. Proceedings RMRS-P-41. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 201-212

 


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