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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Interdisciplinary team to improve predictive wildland fire models with novel sensing

July 9, 2024
Wildland Fire. Photo by Roger Williams.

Roger Williams, associate professor, forest ecosystem analysis management in the School of Environment and Natural Resources is part of an interdisciplinary team at The Ohio State University made up of Mrinal Kumar and Sandip Mazumder, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Gil Bohrer, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering that received a President's Research Excellence (PRE) Accelerator award in the amount of $50,000 to improve operational wildland fire prediction models.

Their proposal titled Transformation of Operational Wildland Fire Behavior Models through Novel Sensing and Data-Driven Regional Adaptations has the goal to fundamentally change the geometric parameterization of the flame and fire-line in fire behavior models and regionally adapt existing fire models using evidence from data collected from field tests (prescribed burns) and lab experiments.

Wildland Fire, Novel Sensing, and Fire Temperature

With the use of AI and machine learning, drones will measure the flame volume of the active fire front and convert this into fire intensity, and with this measurement along with the landscape position (topography) will determine the fire rate of spread and direction,” Williams said.

“Improving wildland fire behavior models is incredibly important for wildland fire managers and fire behavior analysts working active fires, he said. “Prescribed burn managers use these models, and with these improvements will have better predictions of fire intensity which is critical  to know when needing to meet certain ecological objectives as well as maintaining control of the fire.”

The President's Research Excellence (PRE) program, administered by the Enterprise for Research, Innovation and Knowledge, provides seed support for cross- and interdisciplinary research that will secure extramural funding.


Roger Williams,

Photos by and courtesy of Roger Williams.