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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Yolanda Perez-Ramirez; Anthony Graziani; Paul-Antoine Santoni; Justin Paul Ziegler; Chad M. Hoffman; William E. Mell; Virginie Tihay-Felicelli; Anne Ganteaume
Publication Date: 2022

Research applications of three-dimensional, time-dependent, computational fluid dynamics fire behavior models, such as the Wildland Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS) [1,2], FIRETEC [3], or FIRESTAR3D [4], are progressively increasing. This is due to advances in computing capabilities and the potential of these physics-based models to capture the processes involved in fire behavior across a range of scales and conditions. In this regard, they allow consideration of spatially explicit distribution patterns of vegetation, which have a significant influence on wind flow profiles and fire behavior.

Several numerical studies [5,6,7,8,9] have examined the influence of vegetation spatial patterns on wind profiles and/or fire behavior. These studies demonstrate the importance of taking into account the observed heterogeneities in vegetation patterns as well as considering uncertainty when modelling vegetation stands by using statistical models. However, these studies have been focused on forest stands composed by overstorey trees and litter/grass as surface fuels. These forest stands differ from typical fire prone Mediterranean woodlands, which have significant shrub cover.

This study addresses the numerical modelling of cork oak woodlands at a stand scale in wildfire simulations using WFDS. In particular, it investigates how spatial patterns of raised vegetation (i.e., understory shrubs and overstorey trees) in a high-density cork oak stand impact wind/fire dynamics. To this purpose, point process models from spatial statistics have been applied for generating different spatial distribution patterns. For each one of these patterns, different numerical forest scenarios (replicates) have been implemented by using an ensemble-based approach. Simulations were carried out with WFDS at a stand scale with a fine grid resolution. A detailed discussion of the results obtained as well as guidelines for the implementation of numerical forests at stand scale will be provided.

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Citation: PĂ©rez-Ramirez, Yolanda; Graziani, Anthony; Santoni, Paul-Antoine; Ziegler, Justin; Hoffman, Chad M.; Mell, William E.; Tihay-Felicelli, Virginie; Ganteaume, Anne. 2022. Modelling cork oak woodlands for wildfire simulations with WFDS: the role of vegetation spatial patterns. Environmental Sciences Proceedings 17(1):122.

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  • cork oak
  • fuel representation
  • physics-based fire model
  • vegetation patterns
  • WFDS - Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 67721