Title: Application of geographical information systems and FARSITE in fire spread modelling

Authors: Sophia S. Rwanga; Julius M. Ndambuki

Addresses: Department of Civil Engineering Vaal University of Technology, Andries Potgieter Blvd, Private Bag X021, Vanderbijlpark, 1900, South Africa ' Department of Civil Engineering, Tshwane University Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

Abstract: Wildfires are a perennial problem in the Northwest of USA. Wallowa Whitman National Forest fires are quite frequent as a result forest completes between 10,000 and 15,000 acres of burning in a year. According to research, it was reported that the study area experienced fires from 1970 to 2006 with total burning of 149 fires and total burnt area of 7,583 hectares per year which observed to be between June and October. In Wallowa County, over 80% of fire starts are caused from lightning and 20% are attributed to humancaused fire starts. A GIS proved to be used effectively to map forest fire risk zone with the aid of LANDSAT satellite images and high resolution Google Earth images. FARSITE was used to predict fire intensities across a landscape. Results indicated that using GIS and FARSITE, one can generate a reliable management strategy, hence, minimising both life and property loss.

Keywords: FARSITE; fire spread; geographical information systems; GIS; sustainable development; environmental sustainability; modelling; wildfires; fire risk zones; fire risk mapping; fire intensities; risk management; USA; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2014.060201

International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2014 Vol.13 No.2, pp.185 - 203

Accepted: 01 Jul 2013
Published online: 24 May 2014 *

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