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An open multi-physics framework for modelling wildland-urban interface fire evacuations

Author(s): Enrico Ronchi, Steven M. V. Gwynne, Guillermo Rein, Paolo Intini, Rahul Wadhwani
Year Published: 2019

Fire evacuations at wildland-urban interfaces (WUI) pose a serious challenge to the emergency services, and are a global issue affecting thousands of communities around the world. This paper presents a multi-physics framework for the simulation of evacuation in WUI wildfire incidents, including three main modelling layers: wildfire, pedestrians, and traffic. Currently, these layers have been mostly modelled in isolation and there is no comprehensive model which accounts for their integration. The key features needed for system integration are identified, namely: consistent level of refinement of each layer (i.e. spatial and temporal scales) and their application (e.g. evacuation planning or emergency response), and complete data exchange. Timelines of WUI fire events are analysed using an approach similar to building fire engineering (available vs. required safe egress times for WUI fires, i.e. WASET/WRSET). The proposed framework allows for a paradigm shift from current wildfire risk assessment and mapping tools towards dynamic fire vulnerability mapping. This is the assessment of spatial and temporal vulnerabilities based on the wildfire threat evolution along with variables related to the infrastructure, population and network characteristics. This framework allows for the integration of the three main modelling layers affecting WUI fire evacuation and aims at improving the safety of WUI communities by minimising the consequences of wildfire evacuations.

Citation: Ronchi, Enrico; Gwynne, Steven M. V.; Rein, Guillermo; Intini, Paolo; Wadhwani, Rahul. 2019. An open multi-physics framework for modelling wildland-urban interface fire evacuations. Safety Science 118:868-880. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2019.06.009
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Wildland Urban Interface
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20297
FRAMES RCS number: 58101
Record updated: Nov 21, 2019