The Mathematical Modeling of Forest Fires
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With worsening severity of forest fires in America, it has become a necessity to understand the behavior of these phenomena. Not only will this understanding assist land managers with preventing the start and spread of fires, but they will also be better able to protect the people living in areas experiencing forest fires. There are many ways to model these fires, but one of the simplest is through weather variables such as temperature, wind, and humidity. Through the creation of a differential equation using these parameters, one is able to determine many behavioral patterns of wildfires. By implementing this equation in a C++ computer program, it was found that fires will burn more of a forest if the wind is blowing in multiple directions, increasing the probability of fire spread. Additionally, it was found that fires which originate closer to the center of a forest will, in the end, burn more trees than those originating near the outer edge. Many other behaviors could be determined with the addition of fire-specific weather parameters as well as fire-fighting measures to the model. This type of information is vital for the prevention and extinguishing of forest fires.
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