Towards Predictive Simulation of Wildfire Spread at Regional Scale Using Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation to Correct the Fire Front Position

Report Date: January 2014

Wildfires cause significant damage around the world and are difficult to combat, in part, because  of the unpredictable nature of their spread. The goal of this study is to develop a prototype data-driven wildfire simulator capable of forecasting fire-spread dynamics. The prediction tool uses a local rate of spread based on vegetation properties and wind conditions, a series of observations of the fire front position, and a data assimilation algorithm. Validation with a controlled grassland fire experiment showed that the simulation can provide an optimized forecast of the wildfire behavior.


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  • International Association for Fire Safety Science

    IAFSS was founded with the primary objective of encouraging research into the science of preventing and mitigating the adverse effects of fires and of providing a forum for presenting the results of such research.The International Association for Fire Safety Science perceives its role to lie in the scientific bases for achieving progress in unsolved fire problems. It will seek cooperation with other organizations, be they concerned with application or with the sciences that are fundamental to our interests in fire. It will seek to promote high standards, to encourage and stimulate scientists to address fire problems, to provide the necessary scientific foundations and means to facilitate applications aimed at reducing life and property loss. Since its inaugural meeting, the IAFSS has grown to more than four hundred members. Current members come from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States of America. The Association is legally established as a charitable organization in England and Wales.

  • University of Maryland, Department of Fire Protection Engineering

    To date we offer the only fully accredited undergraduate program and one of three graduate degree programs in the U.S. There are seven full-time faculty members in the department.  There are approximately 125 undergraduate students enrolled in the Department.  We have approximately twenty-five FPE graduate students (M.S.) studying on-campus and about fifty students enrolled in the graduate distance education program.  Approximately ten Ph.D. students are on campus pursuing fire-related topics and are being advised by faculty members in the Department.

    The rapid worldwide acceleration in the growth of science and technology are opening up vast new opportunities and demand for uniquely trained fire protection engineers. Therefore, we foster a sustained growth of our graduate program through increased opportunities in research for our students. In particular, we focus on recent advances in material testing practices, fire detection, performance-based design and modeling techniques to predict fire growth, smoke movement or the response of building systems in design and fire investigation applications.

    Our laboratory facilities provide hands-on experience with "standardized" ASTM test procedures and permit the investigation of fire dynamics principles. Students conducting their graduate thesis projects, as well as students conducting their undergraduate research theses use these facilities extensively.

    We are deeply grounded in the fire protection engineering profession while we are launching advanced research programs to meet the challenges of the future. We would like to share our unique heritage and our innovative research experiences with you. We welcome you to join us in these endeavors.

  • École Centrale Paris

    “Since its foundation in 1829, the École Centrale Paris has followed the same calling: training engineers capable of meeting the greatest challenges of their era. The challenge is to allow the 9 billion people who will live on our planet in 2050 to have access to water, food, energy, health, education, information, etc.

    To appreciate and meet the great challenges of the 21st century, the world needs ever more engineers – “three- dimensional” engineers: high level scientific and technical generalists, experts in initiating and piloting innovative projects and with a strong international culture.

    It is these new scientific leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, that Centrale Paris seeks to train and to prepare for the companies, governments and institutions of today and tomorrow. These men and women will know how to respond to the issues of their age using the science and technology.

    It continues to prove this by developing its alliances with the most prestigious companies, universities and research centres in France and throughout the world. And by successfully exporting its model overseas, through the creation of the École Centrale in Beijing.

    It is in this same spirit, with this same enthusiasm that we will continue to develop in order to train increasingly outstanding leaders.”

    - Hervé Biausser, director of Centrale Paris

  • Centre Européen de Recherche et de Formation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique

    CERFACS is a research organization that aims to develop advanced methods for the numerical simulation and the algorithmic solution of large scientific and technological problems of interest for research as well as industry, and that requires access to the most powerful computers presently available. CERFACS is governed by a Conseil de Gérance with representatives from its shareholders, and benefits from the recommendations of its Scientific Council. 

    CERFACS has seven shareholders : CNES, the French Space Agency; EADS France, European Aeronautic and Defence Space Company; EDF, Electricité de France; Météo-France, the French meteorological service; ONERA, the French Aerospace Lab; SAFRAN, an international high-technology group; TOTAL, a multinational energy compagny. 

    CERFACS hosts interdisciplinary teams, both for research and advanced training that are comprised of: physicists, applied mathematicians, numerical analysts, and software engineers. 

    Approximately 150 people work at CERFACS, including more than 130 researchers and engineers, coming from 10 different countries. They work on specific projects in nine main research areas: parallel algorithms, code coupling, aerodynamics, gas turbines, combustion, climate, environmental impact, data assimilation, and electromagnetism & acoustics. 

Rochoux, Mélanie C., Charlotte Emery, Sophie Ricci, Bénédicte Cuenot, and Arnaud Trouvé. Towards Predictive Simulation of Wildfire Spread at Regional Scale Using Ensemble-Based Data Assimilation to Correct the Fire Front Position. Fire Safety Science – Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium, 2014.  

© 2014 International Association for Fire Safety Science.

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