Andreas Kamilaris, Jean-Baptiste Filippi, Chirag Padubidri, Ruben Koole, Savvas Karatsiolis
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Communication & Education

NRFSN number: 25524
FRAMES RCS number: 67365
Record updated: May 10, 2023

Over the past couple of decades, the number of wildfires and area of land burned around the world has been steadily increasing, partly due to climatic changes and global warming. Therefore, there is a high probability that more people will be exposed to and endangered by forest fires. Hence there is an urgent need to design pervasive systems that effectively assist people and guide them to safety during wildfires. This paper examines the potential of mobile applications to be employed to assist people to escape wildfires in real-time, by means of using and evaluating EscapeWildFire, a system for suggesting evacuation paths to mobile phone users in real-time. Two different evaluation strategies are followed: (a) Considering different areas of the island of Cyprus as case studies with simulated wildfires and actual users and (b) Considering a historic wildfire that occurred in Amarillo, Texas in 2011. Results in both cases show that mobile apps can effectively be employed to assist people to escape wildfires, but their use is heavily dependent on a backend system that supports the precise modelling of the wildfire. The time between the wildfire outbreak and the notification reaching the user is crucial for their safety. Various recommendations for improvements have been recorded based on either the feedback of participants in the case studies or the observations from the Texas wildfire. The code of the mobile app, backend and administration interface used are all open-source; fire authorities around the world are encouraged to further investigate this opportunity and adopt this approach.


Kamilaris, A.; Filippi, J.B.; Padubidri, C.; Koole, R.; Karatsiolis, S. 2023. Examining the potential of mobile applications to assist people to escape wildfires in real-time. Fire Safety Journal 136:103747.

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