Published works

Published works

Sharples, J. J. A unified approach to fire spread modelling. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).

A unified approach to fire spread modelling

TitleA unified approach to fire spread modelling
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSharples, JJ
Conference NameAFAC17
Date Published09/2017
PublisherBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Conference LocationSydney

One of the main goals of bushfire research is to provide a relatively simple and timely answer to the question “What is the fires’ forward rate of spread?” Indeed, pursuit of such an answer has engaged some of the brightest minds in wildland fire science, and has produced a variety of fire spread models that apply across a number of common vegetation or fuel types. In Australia, these models date back to the 1950s-60s, with the work of Alan McArthur, and extend through to the current day with the most recent developments in shrubland fire spread models and refinements to the curing function in the CSIRO grassland fire spread model. In the present work we consider the way that meteorological factors are incorporated into the suite of existing fire spread models, which encompass a variety of different fuel types, and discuss an approach that unifies their inclusion. The utility of this unified modelling approach is demonstrated via model comparison using real meteorological data over a range of vegetation types. In particular, we demonstrate that the meteorological (i.e. non-fuel) sub-models of the current suite of operational models, which are of many and varied functional form, can be replaced by a single, unified, two-parameter model, with no appreciable loss in model performance. The unified model has the distinct advantage of being conceptually straightforward and extremely parsimonious compared to current operational approaches. The existence of a simple, yet effective, unified approach to fire spread modelling has implications for initiatives such as the National Fire Danger Rating project, as it establishes a common modelling basis that can be applied to the many different fuel types that are encountered across the nation.

Refereed DesignationNon-Refereed

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