A graph theoretical approach to the Firebreak Locating Problem (Wildfire Conference. Day 1 - Tuesday Nov. 12th, 2019)

By Pau Costa Foundation on

2019 Wildfire Conference Adressing the Challenges of Bushfire Management

Presentations Notes 2019: DAY 1 (Tuesday Nov. 12th, 2019).

A graph theoretical approach to the Firebreak Locating Problem

(Marc Demange and Pierpaolo Vittorini - RMIT University, Australia / Gabriele Di Stefano - Università degli Studi dell’Aquila, Italy)


Firefighting is the set of activities aiming at preventing and extinguishing unwanted fires. Construction of firebreaks is one of the possible prevention activities. Firebreaks are areas in which all the vegetation and organic matter are completely removed and a road and water tanks are installed. They are designed and built for preventing a fire from feeding further with any combustible material and give the firefighters a safe place to attack the fire front. The main objective is to prevent fire from escaping towards populated areas and important assets, such as hospitals and school.
Firebreaks require annual maintenance: keeping the optimal functionality is very onerous, since the total absence of vegetation must be guaranteed, especially during the fire season. So, even though firebreaks constitute an eficient tool to avoid the propagation of fire between adjacent areas,it is imposible to créate fire-breaking lines everywhere due to economic constraints as well as ecological and landscapemanagement restrictions. Currently,the location of firebreaks remains empirical and mostly based on statistical analysis of past fires and on expert opinions.

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