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Design and implementation of an integrated GIS-based cellular automata model to characterize forest fire behaviour

Written By onci on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | 12:54 AM

S. Yassemi
a,S.Dragi ´ cevi ´ ca,∗
, M. Schmidtb
a Spatial Analysis and Modeling Laboratory, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive,
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
b Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada



ABSTRACT


The integration of geographic information systems (GIS) and environmental modelling has
been widely investigated for more than a decade. However, such integration has remained
a challenging task due to the temporal changes of environmental processes and the static
nature of GIS. This study integrates GIS and cellular automata (CA) techniques to develop
a fire behaviour model with a flexible and user-friendly end-user interface. The developed
model incorporates topographic, forest fuel and weather variables.

The performance of the implemented fire model is evaluated by comparison with fire spread simulations derived
from Prometheus, the national Canadian fire behaviour modelling tool based on elliptical
wave propagation principles. The developed fire behaviour model was tested using spatial
data from the 2001 Dogrib Fire near Nordegg Alberta, Canada. Results from the simulations
of the CA and wave propagation spread models indicate comparable agreement. This study
shows that the GIS-CAmodel can simulate realistic forest fire scenarios. The developed GIS-
basedmodelling tool enables dynamic animation within the GIS interface. Further, this tool
can be adapted to other CA-based spatio-temporal modelling applications.
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