Thayjes Srivas, Raymond A. de Callafon, Daniel Crawl, and Ilkay Altintas

Data Assimilation of Wildfires with Fuel Adjustment Factors in farsite using Ensemble Kalman Filtering


This paper shows the extension of the wildfire simulation tool FARSITE to allow for data assimilation capabilities on both fire perimeters and fuel adjustment factors to improve the accuracy of wildfire spread predictions. While fire perimeters characterize the overall burn scar of a wildfire, fuel adjustment factors are fuel model specific calibration numbers that adjust the rate of spread for each fuel type independently. Data assimilation updates of both fire perimeters and fuel adjustment factors are calculated from an Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) that exploits the uncertainty information on the simulated fire perimeter, fuel adjustment factors and a measured fire perimeter. The effectiveness of the proposed data assimilation is illustrated on a wildfire simulation representing the 2014 Cocos fire, tracking time varying fuel adjustment factors based on noisy and limited spatial resolution observations of the fire perimeter.