International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Representation and evaluation of wildfire propagation simulations

Jean-Baptiste Filippi A D , Vivien Mallet B C and Bahaa Nader A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Sciences Pour l'Environnement (SPE) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), University of Corsica, BP 52, F-20250 Corte cedex, France.

B Institut National de recherche en informatique et en automatique (INRIA), BP 105, F-78153 Le Chesnay cedex, France.

C Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Environnement Atmosphérique (CEREA) (Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Électricité De France (EDF) R&D; université Paris Est), 6–8 avenue Blaise Pascal, Cité Descartes Champs-sur-Marne, F-77455 Marne-la-Vallée, France.

D Corresponding author. Email: filippi@univ-corse.fr

International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(1) 46-57 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF12202
Submitted: 30 November 2012  Accepted: 30 May 2013   Published: 9 October 2013

Abstract

This paper provides a formal mathematical representation of a wildfire simulation, reviews the most common scoring methods using this formalism, and proposes new methods that are explicitly designed to evaluate a forest fire simulation from ignition to extinction. These scoring or agreement methods are tested with synthetic cases in order to expose strengths and weaknesses, and with more complex fire simulations using real observations. An implementation of the methods is provided as well as an overview of the software package. The paper stresses the importance of scores that can evaluate the dynamics of a simulation, as opposed to methods relying on snapshots of the burned surfaces computed by the model. The two new methods, arrival time agreement and shape agreement, take into account the dynamics of the simulation between observation times. Although no scoring method is able to perfectly synthesise a simulation error in a single number, the analysis of the scores obtained on idealised and real simulations provides insights into the advantages of these methods for the evaluation of fire dynamics.

Additional keywords: error, notation, score, scoring method.


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