Wildfire Simulation System

The Quantum3D Wildfire Simulation System is a software suite developed to provide real-time visualization of large-scale wildfires combined with accurate modelling of fire propagation.

The suite provides an enhancement to Quantum3D’s Mantis product, a long-established real-time visualization and training software system. Mantis already provides the capability for simulating the terrain, airports, and various aircraft that may be used in firefighting.

The primary target market for the Wildfire Simulation System is for training of firefighting aircrew.

The system consists of two main components: WildFire plugin for Quantum3D’s Mantis and Burn model.

WildFire Plugin

A WildFire plugin for Quantum3D’s Mantis. This plugin provides the visuals for display of realistic forest wild fires. The additional capabilities provided by the plugin include:

  • Display of animated flames.
  • Display of animated smoke.
  • Blackening of burned terrain and cultural features such as trees, buildings, vehicles.
  • Animated glowing effect on burning terrain.
  • Foam and retardant drops. The drops spread and disperse as they descend. Information is sent back to the Host and Burn Model regarding where the drop lands on the terrain. The Burn Model will adjust the propagation of the fire accordingly.
  • Infrared visualization on FLIR display.

Burn Model

A Burn Model. This model provides real-time physics-based computation of the spread of the fire over time. The following aspects affect the spread of the fire:

  • The ignition location.
  • Environmental conditions such as wind speed, wind direction, humidity, FWI.
  • The topology of the terrain.
  • The fuel type, i.e. the classification type of trees or vegetation. The fuel type can be set differently in different regions where the fire is located.
  • Obstructions such as rivers, lakes, roads, fire breaks.
  • Retardant or foam drops.

The fire propagation model splits the fire into small cells and outputs the following information for each cell which are sent to the WildFire plugin for visualization of the fire:

  • Flame height.
  • How long the flames should last.
  • How long the smoke should last.
  • The color of the smoke, from black through to white.

The following propagation models are used:

  • Rothermel’s (1972) surface fire spread model.
  • Van Wagner’s (1977) crown fire initiation model.
  • Rothermel’s (1991) crown fire spread model.
  • Albini’s (1979) spotting model.
  • Nelson’s (2000) dead fuel moisture model.
  • Fire Weather Index (FWI) system.
  • Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction (FBP) system.

Additional features affecting the whole system include:

  • Time acceleration mode. The spread of the fire can be accelerated allowing for the instructor to quickly establish an accurately generated large fire from a single ignition point.
  • Ability to save and load the fire state. This allows an established fire to be saved and then later loaded to act as a starting point for a training session.
  • Ability to log and replay the progression of a fire. This allows for after action review of the session and the effectiveness of the firefighting tactics used.
  • Communication to the Host regarding burn propagation and retardant/foam drops allows the host to display these on, for example, a map on the instructor station.
  • Multiple fires from more than one initial ignition location can be simulated.
  • Since the burn model is a separate package, it can be used to drive multiple IG’s, each running the Wildfire plugin. This allows multiple aircrew to participate in a coordinated firefighting session.

Wildfire Simulation System Demo

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