Predicting fire behavior is complicated. Current modeling tools work to balance the interplay between many different factors including weather conditions and vegetation structure. Yet these tools are often underutilized because they require high-performance computing resources.
Rodman Linn from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, with expertise from SRS researchers Scott Goodrick and Joe O’Brien and additional colleagues, developed a tool called QUIC-Fire that can rapidly predict complex fire behavior.
QUIC-Fire integrates parts of two existing simulation tools – a wind solver model and a firespread model. The resulting tool incorporates a wide range of weather condition metrics, high-resolution 3D fuel (vegetation) characteristics, and different fire ignition scenarios to predict how fire will move through and impact an area.
“QUIC-Fire is intended to serve as a core component of a prescribed fire planning tool that will assist land managers in understanding how ignition patterns connect to fire effects and smoke impacts,” says Goodrick.
Initial simulations show promise in the model’s ability to capture basic trends in fire behavior. QUIC-Fire performed similarly to a more complicated fluid dynamics model called FIRETEC – an encouraging sign.
“QUIC-Fire was developed so that a broader set of users could explore fire prescriptions and how these prescriptions link to achieving a fire’s objectives,” says Goodrick.
QUIC-Fire could prove to be the first fire simulation tool to capture interactions between fuel structure, local atmospheric conditions, and fire behavior, without the extreme computational demands. It shows promise as a broadly accessible tool to compare, evaluate, and design burn plans.