Generation and evaluation of an ensemble of wildland fire simulations

Abstract : Numerical simulations of wildfire spread can provide support in deciding firefighting actions but their predictive performance is challenged by the uncertainty of model inputs stemming from weather forecasts, fuel parameterisation and other fire characteristics. In this study, we assign probability distributions to the inputs and propagate the uncertainty by running hundreds of Monte Carlo simulations. The ensemble of simulations is summarised via a burn probability map whose evaluation based on the corresponding observed burned surface is not obvious. We define several properties and introduce probabilistic scores that are common in meteorological applications. Based on these elements, we evaluate the predictive performance of our ensembles for seven fires that occurred in Corsica from mid-2017 to early 2018. We obtain fair performance in some of the cases but accuracy and reliability of the forecasts can be improved. The ensemble generation can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time and could be used in an operational context provided that sufficient computational resources are available. The proposed probabilistic scores are also appropriate in a calibration process to improve the ensembles.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 2:31:47 PM
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Frédéric Allaire, Jean-Baptiste Filippi, Vivien Mallet. Generation and evaluation of an ensemble of wildland fire simulations. International Journal of Wildland Fire, CSIRO Publishing, In press, ⟨10.1071/WF19073⟩. ⟨hal-02447187⟩

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