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Research on a Forest Fire Spread Simulation Driven by the Wind Field in Complex Terrain

Authors: Ying Shang, Chencheng Wang


The wind field is the main driving factor for the spread of forest fires. For the simulation results of forest fire spread to be more accurate, it is necessary to obtain more detailed wind field data. Therefore, this paper studied the mountainous fine wind field simulation method coupled with WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting Model) and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) to realize the numerical simulation of the wind field in a mountainous area with a scale of 30 m and a small measurement error. Local topographical changes have an important impact on the wind field. Based on the Rothermel fire spread model, a forest fire in Idaho in the western United States was simulated. The historical data proved that the simulation results had a good accuracy. They showed that the fire spread rate will decrease rapidly with time and then reach a steady state. After reaching a steady state, the fire spread growth area will not only be affected by the slope, but will also show a significant quadratic linear positive correlation with the wind speed change.

Keywords: Wind field, numerical simulation, forest fire spread, fire behavior model, complex terrain.

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