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Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Charlie E. Barnwell; Sue Rodman; John Koltun
Publication Date: 2005

The Anchorage Wildfire Exposure Model (AFEM) is the result of a phased Municipality Anchorage, Alaska (MOA) four-year wildfire risk assessment modeling process. The AFEM and associated projects arose out of a multi-agency effort to mitigate and respond to wildfire threats in the Anchorage area. The AFEM stresses the input of a multi-disciplinary and agency Fire Science Team, and generates a fire exposure map that reflects the potential threat of wildfire throughout the MOA wildland/urban interface area. The AFEM is a GIS-based model that automates the analyses of MOA GIS data for the calculation of the exposure components: potential fire intensity, values at risk, suppression constraints, and ignition risk. The AFEM conceptual design leveraged previous modeling efforts in Phase 1 using ERDAS Imagine. In Phase 2, AFEM was initially implemented and refined using ArcGIS Model Builder. This allowed the fire scientists to visualize the process flow of GIS data through the model and evaluate the impacts of the weights and parameters on the calculation of the exposure components. After implementation in Model Builder, AFEM was converted to an ArcObjects extension with a custom interface and extended processing options. AFEM is currently being used to guide mitigation efforts and evaluate what-if scenarios for urban development options. A Phase 3 project will refine the AFEM, and supporting land cover and fire fuel types categorization. The AFEM also serves the MOA as a strategic ArcGIS modeling prototype for other potential uses in the city.

Online Links
Link to this document (2.9 MB; pdf)
Citation: Barnwell, Charlie; Rodman, Sue; Koltun, John. 2005. Urban wildfire exposure modeling in the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska. Proceedings of the ESRI User Conference. 37 p.

Cataloging Information

  • AFEM - Anchorage Wildfire Exposure Model
  • fire behavior modeling
  • fire intensity
  • fuel mitigation
  • GIS - geographic information system
  • ignition risk
  • Municipality of Anchorage
  • risk assessment
  • suppression constraints
  • VAR - values-at-risk
  • wildfire risk model
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 6541