Improvements in Australia’s bushfire rate of spread models over time
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): Miguel G. Cruz; Martin E. Alexander; Andrew L. Sullivan; James S. Gould; Musa Kilinc
Editor(s): Sharon M. Hood; Stacy A. Drury; Toddi A. Steelman; Ron Steffens
Publication Year: 2020

Cataloging Information

  • Australia
  • bushfire
  • conifer forests
  • dry eucalypt forests
  • Eucalyptus spp.
  • fire environment
  • fuel types
  • grasslands
  • model evaluation
  • ROS - rate of spread
  • semiarid shrublands
  • temperate shrublands
  • wildfire observation
  • International
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Record Last Modified: October 14, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 62100


We analyzed the predictive accuracy of rate of fire spread models used operationally in Australia in five different fuel types (grasslands, temperate shrublands, semiarid shrublands, dry eucalypt [Eucalyptus spp.] forests, and conifer forests). This analysis was undertaken by comparing predictions of older models with those of newer models and noting changes in error statistics based on independent evaluation of datasets composed largely of wildfire observations. We observed the newer models to have improved prediction accuracy in four of the five cases over their previous counterparts; only in the case of the semiarid shrublands was there essentially no difference. Mean absolute errors were reduced between 56 and 70 percent. This study has highlighted the value of continuous improvement in fire behavior modeling.

Cruz, Miguel G.; Alexander, Martin E.; Sullivan, Andrew L.; Gould, James S.; Kilinc, Musa. 2020. Improvements in Australia’s bushfire rate of spread models over time. Pages 44-50 in: Hood, Sharon M.; Drury, Stacy; Steelman, Toddi A.; Steffens, Ron (editors), The Fire Continuum - Preparing for the Future of Wildland Fire: Proceedings of the Fire Continuum Conference, 2018 May 21-24, Missoula, MT. Proceedings RMRS-P-78. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 358 p.