Dept. of Scientific Computing,
Florida State University

"Modern Methods of Analyzing Fire Spread"

Nov 10, 2021 Schedule:

Tea Time - F2F ( 417 DSL) / Virtual ( Zoom)
03:00 to 03:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Colloquium - F2F ( 499 DSL) / Virtual ( Zoom)
03:30 to 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting # 942 7359 5552


Wildfires are some of the most destructive and costly natural disasters in the world. How can we understand, or even predict, the movement of this complex system? Much of wildland and prescribed fire spread occurs through surface fuels. The rate of spread in such environments is often summarized with a formula depending on key variables, including wind speed, slope, fuel type, and fuel moisture. However, these models are generally empirical and do not account for several key factors, such as small-scale variations in fuel and wind as experienced in the field. Including these is challenging and impractical for landscape-scale models, but they play a pivotal role in fire spread. Additionally, the level of uncertainty associated with characterizing rate of spread and flame dynamics in the presence of turbulent flow demonstrates the need for further understanding of fire dynamics at small scales in realistic settings. I will describe adapted computer vision and graph theory techniques used to form fine-scale measurements of a fire’s rate of spread as it varies spatially and temporally in a natural setting. These techniques are combined with atmospheric science and fluid dynamics to statistically analyze fire spread, revealing physical and statistical values that help us better understand fire behavior and characterize fire spread in diverse situations.

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