Coupled Pedestrian, Vehicle and Wildfire Modelling for WUI Crisis Management (Wildfire Conference. Day 3 - Thursday Nov. 14th, 2019)

By Pau Costa Foundation on

2019 Wildfire Conference. Adressing the Challenges of Bushfire Management

Presentations Notes 2019: DAY 1 (Day 3 - Thursday Nov. 14th, 2019).

Coupled Pedestrian, Vehicle and Wildfire Modelling for WUI Crisis Management.

Peter J Lawrence, Anand Veeraswamy, David Martin-Gallego, Darren Blackshields, Lazaros Filippidis, Veronica Pellacini & Edwin R Galea

(Fire Safety Engineering Group / University of Greenwich)


In recent years, urbanisation of forested regions has greatly increased the number of evacuations of large populations from wildfires associated with the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and with global warming, these incidents are expected to increase further [1]. Wildfire evacuations often involve people not just evacuating by vehicle, but also on foot. People may be required to walk to designated shelters when they are nearby, or to public transport hubs or to their cars [2]. During the 2018 Camp Fire in California [3], traffic jams forced people to abandon their cars and evacuate by foot. In the 2018 Mati fires near Athens Greece, in which 102 people lost their lives, 26 of the decedents were attempting to evacuate to the beach on foot when they were entrapped and overcome by the rapidly advancing fire [4]. Even if communities are well trained, not all contingencies can be anticipated and catered for. The variability of wildfire may require crisis managers to take unplanned actions [3]. The use of computer models can assist crisis managers to not only plan and train in managing largescale evacuations but they can also be used to aid in real-time incident management [5]. This research demonstrates a practical holistic solution using off the-shelf tools to effectively model complex multimodal evacuations incorporating dynamic fire development. The system allows stakeholders to obtain an overall picture of the incident through the synergy between the fire, vehicle and pedestrian modelling, representing a major step forward in crisis management. The ability to model this interaction can help with both planning and training of crisis managers and assist them in decision making in real situations, allowing them to assess the effectiveness of proposed strategies. For the first time, crisis managers can evaluate how decisions impacting one part of the evacuation process may impact another. The proposed system represents a major advancement over traditional tabletop training exercises and the current practice of running models independently during incidents.

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