VESTA - Large Scale Fire Simulator

For assessing fire spread and fire intensity of large fires in Europe

There is an increasing need for improved accuracy in predicting fire spread, because large scale fire simulation has produced large multi-dimensional datasets. A large scale fire simulator has been developed by the MTDA team (France) as part of the European Fire Paradox programme, to simulate fire spread by means of drawing successive map-based contours, based on the current knowledge of physics at a landscape scale.

Product's leader

Daniel Alexandrian
Daniel Alexandrian

Who will be interested in this product and why?

Our large scale fire simulator is designed for training, demonstration and fire management for forest managers, fire professionals, educational institutes and consultancies.

What are the innovative features?

The main innovative aspect is the fact that the tool will be based on physical results. In other words, it will fill the gap between existing 2D fire simulators based on empirical or semi-empirical rules and full 3D physical models that are not usable in an operational way.

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

There is a real need for a tool that is capable of predicting fire behaviour with acceptable accuracy, and one that is adapted to European conditions. So, it takes part of the philosophy "learn to live with fire".

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General objectives

The key-objective of this fire simulator is to replace the existing tools based on empirical or semi-empirical models by a new type based on physical fire modelling, which are more accurate and reliable. The main functions of this fire spread prediction tool will be to:
- ignite a fire (or several fires) by means of mapped ignition point(s)
- save calculated fire perimeters
- compare simulated fire with real time fire spread
- compare results from several fire spread model runs.

Innovative aspects

- Physically-based fire spread model (Firetec code)
- Multi-model platform (comparison between models)
- Comparison with real-time fires (calibration). Validation with well-documented real-time fires with only minor fire suppression activities (mainly free fire propagation)
- Not a stand-alone, but a GIS extension (plug-in)
- Risk mapping oriented
- Includes a spotting model
- Weather conditions will be spatially variable (wind maps)
- Weather conditions may vary during the simulation (time)
- 3D visualisation

Major results

The MTDA team has first implemented the FireTec code (to construct the database) on a computer’s farm and has also developed an interface to monitor this. Concerning the parametric studies of the database made with the FireTec code, several hundreds of runs have been done for various fuel types and for all combinations of slope, wind and fuel moisture content. Then, the interface of the simulator was developed to make all the required functions available. A series of tests was done with the objective to make comparisons of simulated fire models versus real time fire data.

Large Scale Fire Simulator

VESTA - Large Scale Fire Simulator

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