Evolving Marked Point Processes with Application to Wildland Fire Regime Modeling

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Collaborative Research Team Project: 2015-2018

There is an increasing need for statistically sound methods for modeling fires, especially at the wildland urban interface. Because the environment is evolving, it is important to understand how biotic feedbacks, climate, the weather, and fire suppression will interact to impact fire risk and to produce future fire regimes. Spatially and temporally explicit methods are needed that quantify and map the risk of large fires, of spread events, of variation in fire severity, of local concentrations of fires, and of the potential for a suppressed fire to escape initial attack.

This project will develop statistical methods for quantifying and mapping fire risk, in particular methodology for modeling marked point process data aggregated over moderate to large temporal and spatial scales.   Specifically, the team will use marked point process methodology to model fire ignition points in historical data from Alberta and other provinces, taking into account weather conditions and features of the natural and built environments. They will investigate how best to model smouldering and fire spread using underlying interacting particle systems. An important outcome of their collaboration with provincial ministries and with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (a non-profit institute affiliated with the University of Western Ontario) will be to develop visualization tools for fire managers and property insurers.

The team co-leaders are W. John Braun, University of British Columbia-Okanagan and Douglas Woolford of the University of Western Ontario, with collaborators Patrick Brown, David Martell and Jamie Stafford of the University of Toronto; Charmaine Dean and Bruce Jones of the University of Western Ontario; Steve Cumming and Thierry Duchesne of Université Laval, Mike Flannigan of the University of Alberta, Joan Hu of Simon Fraser University and B. Michael Wotton of the Canadian Forest Service.

1st Workshop:  Nov. 26-27, 2015 at the Fields Institute

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