Wildfire modeling is a complex, computationally costly endeavor, but with droughts worsening and fires burning across the western United States, obtaining accurate wildfire predictions is more important than ever. In this paper, we present a novel approach to wildfire modeling using data assimiliation. We model wildfire spread with a modification of the partial differential equation model described by Mandel et al. in their 2008 paper. Specifically, we replace some constant parameter values with geospatial functions of fuel type. We combine deep learning and remote sensing to obtain real-time data for the model and employ the Nelder-Mead method to recover optimal model parameters with data assimilation. We demonstrate the efficacy of this approach on computer-generated fires, as well as real fire data from the 2021 Dixie Fire in California. On generated fires, this approach resulted in an average Jaccard index of 0.996 between the predicted and actual fire perimeters and an average Kulczynski measure of 0.997. On data from the Dixie Fire, the average Jaccard index achieved was 0.48, and the average Kulczynski measure was 0.66.
College and Department
Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Mathematics
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Johnston, Andrew, "Wildfire Modeling with Data Assimilation" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 9788.
wildfire model, fire perimeter, data assimilation, partial differential equations, image segmentation, finite difference, finite element, remote sensing