A Geographic Information System Tool

To Produce Maps for the Assessment of Forest Fire Risks

Omikron Ltd (Environment and Public Works Design, Study and Management), has developed - within the Fire Paradox project - a Geographic Information System tool for the assessment of fire risk using the latest remote sensing data and GIS technologies. This system will assist fire managers with the mitigation of the harmful effects of wildfires by producing forest fire hazard maps and will function as a valuable planning tool for fuel reduction efforts at the European level.

Antonis MANTZAVELAS
Antonis MANTZAVELAS

Who will be interested in this product and why?

It is expected that forest managers, fire professionals and land owners will be interested in the product, because it will assist with the mitigation of the harmful effects of wildfires by mapping fire hazards on a daily basis.

What are the innovative features?

The tool provides the user with the ability to integrate structural (fuel models, topography, etc) and "dynamic" factors (air temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, etc) into the GIS environment, to easily assess fire hazard on a daily basis.

How does it serve the European cause and promotes the philosophy of Fire Paradox?

The tool is expected to assist fire managers with the mitigation of the harmful effects of wildfires by producing maps on forest fire hazards. It will also function as a valuable planning tool for fuel reduction efforts at the European level.


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General objectives

This software can produce fire hazard maps, on a daily basis, by combining "static" structural (fuel models, topography, etc) and "dynamic" factors (air temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, etc.

It contributes to enhance the assessment of the wild-land fire risk.

It is organised on five different topics:
- Calculation of the possibility of fire occurrence (Structural index - PFO- Calculation of the daily index (Fire Weather Index - FWI),
- Calculation of the Potential Fireline Intensity (PFI),
- Combination of the previous items to assess fire hazard (Final hazard index - HI),
- Calculation of the Hazard in WUI index (IR).

Innovative aspects

The main tool for transferring the knowledge will be ARC GIS. The user will be able to integrate structural (fuel models, topography, etc) and "dynamic" factors (air temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content, etc) into the GIS environment, to easily assess fire hazard on a daily basis.

Major results

The major steps which have been realized are:

STEP 1: Calculation of a structural index (probability of occurrence by means of logistic regression)
1. Choice of the most significant structural factors from a list of factors of potential significance. Possible factors to include are: fuel types, elevation, distance from nearest road, distance from nearest town/village, average July maximum temperature and average annual precipitation.
2. Assessment of the relative significance (weight) of each factor. Weights are calculated in such a way that maximizes the possibility that observed fire occurrence (historic events) is predicted from the observed values of factors taken into consideration.

STEP 2: Calculation of a daily index (Fire Weather Index)
3. Calculation of the Initial Spread Index (ISI)
ISI = f (Wind, fuel water content)
4. Calculation of the Build up Index (BUI)
BUI = f (Temperature, relative humidity, rain, water content in duff etc.
5. Calculation of the Fire Weather Index (FWI)
FWI = f (ISI, BUI)
STEP 3: Combination of structural and daily indices (Composite Index and Final Hazard Index)
6. The Composite Index is the product of the structural and the daily indices
7. The Final Hazard Index is the product of the Composite Index and the potential fire intensity of the underlying fuel type

STEP 4: Calculation of the Potential Fireline Intensity (PFI)
The potential fireline intensity is the potential energy release per unit length of fire front, in the case of a fire incident (Byram, 1959)

STEP 5: Calculation of the Hazard Index (HI)
The Hazard Index (HI) can be seen as a combination between the Composite Index (indicating the likelihood of a fire to happen) and the Potential Fire Intensity.

8. Calculation of the Hazard in WUI index (IR)
The calculation requires a polygon dataset containing values for the variables of interest (WUI typology, ecological, topographical and socioeconomic data). The index is a combination between 3 indices: a) Ignition Density Index (DE), b) Wildfire Density Index (DI) and c) Burned Area Index (SB).

A Geographic Information System Tool Screenshot


The Hazard Index





A Geographic Information System Tool - http//www.fireparadox.org

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