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Fire Modeling Programs

SiroFire

SiroFire

The CSIRO Bushfire Spread Simulator
The technology of fire behaviour prediction in Australia has progressed relatively slowly since Alan McArthur developed his Fire Danger Rating Systems in the 1950s and 1960s. The prediction of probable fire spread is a very important element in planning fire suppression commitment to wildfires and reducing the damage caused by wildfires. The effectiveness of deployment depends greatly on the knowledge of where the fire will be by the time the suppression forces arrive in the field. Knowing in advance where to put the ground crews is a powerful weapon in the fight to save lives and property.

Nomographs, tables and graphs used in conjunction with McArthur's rules for the effect of slope on fire spread have traditionally been used in conjunction with paper maps for predicting the spread of wildfire in Australia.

SiroFire, the CSIRO Bushfire Spread Simulator revolutionises this process.

CSIRO's Bushfire Behaviour and Management Group has completed development of SiroFire, a PC-based decision support application designed to assist fire controllers in predicting the likely spread of a fire under forecast weather conditions. It is constructed around the McArthur Forest and Grass FDRS meters and the new CSIRO Grassland Fire Spread Meter. The algorithms that are built into the meters are used to estimate the probable fire behaviour characteristics from fuel and weather information entered by a fire controller.

SiroFire uses information such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, fuel load and conditions, grass curing, slope, and the selected fire spread model to predict the spread of a wildfire and plot the perimeter on a map of the area of interest. Unlike the cardboard meters, SiroFire estimates the rate of spread for the entire perimeter. The perimeter is predicted at regular intervals and a map of the fire spread across the landscape constructed, giving the fire controller an indication of what the fire may do in the course of the next several hours.

Its easy-to-use interface ensures suitability for use by Fire Control Officers and for training staff in the principles of fire behaviour. GIS-derived geographic maps and digital terrain models are used to graphically present the spread of the fire over the map display.

As new fire spread models are developed they can be easily incorporated into SiroFire and issued to fire authorities for testing and evaluation.

 
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