AiS Challenge Team Interim Report

Team Number: 105

School Name: Tularosa High School

Area of Science: Environmental Science

Project Title: Predicting Fire Spread In Wildland Fuels



Forest managers and others who research fires in forests, brush fields, and grasslands need a consistent method for predicting the spread rate and intensity of fires burning these fuels. We plan to incorporate a mathematical model using fuel and weather perameters measurable in the field as inputs into a computer program to help predict rate of spread and intensity of fires in wildland fuels.

In order to incorporate the variables which can effect fire spread into a computer program, a mathematical model was needed. Other information about fires, fuel types, wind, and other possible factors in spread rate and fire intensity also had to be researched. Once the mathematical model is found and research is complete, these will be incorporated into a program written in the C++ computer language.

We are still gathering information on fires, fuel types, and other inputs, but the mathematical model for our program is complete. Some inputs necessary include fuel depth, fuel surface area to volume ratio, fuel moisture content, fuel mineral content, wind velocity at mid-flame height, and slope of the terrain (vertical rise over horizontal distance). Using a variety of formulas the eventual result will be the rate of spread in ft./min. and reaction intensity in B.t.u./ft. min.

Our eventual goal is to have a program which can decrease the time needed to perform these calculations to a matter of seconds, requiring only the time necessary to input the variables. This program could be of great aid to anyone who needs to predict the behavior of a wildfire.

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