AiS Challenge Team Abstract

Team Number: 105

School Name: Tularosa High School

Area of Science: Environmental Science

Project Title: Predicting Fire Spread In Wildland Fuels



A program was written to assist in solving the problem of wildfire spread and intensity calculation. The program is based on a mathematical model that takes into account the great variety of fuels found in wild-land areas. The model is presented from beginning stages through assessment, illustration of results, and theoretical fuel models.

The model is adequate for the purpose due to the fact that no previous knowledge of a fuel’s burning characteristics is necessary. Inputs required are those which provide a description of the physical and chemical makeup of the fuel and environmental conditions under which the specified fuel is expected to combust. Variables include: fuel load, surface area to volume ratio, fuel depth, fuel particle heat content, moisture and mineral content, moisture content at which extinction can be expected, average wind velocity, and slope of terrain. The original model was conceived for dry fuels found on the ground, such as grass or litter; but it is useful for fuels ranging from pine needles to heavy logging slash.

The intention of this project is to write a computer program designed to simplify and extend the use of the mathematical model to increase efficiency of wildfire containment methods. This goal will be achieved by implementation of the resulting program based upon the described mathematical model.

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