Determining response times for the deployment of terrestrial resources for fighting forest fires: A case study: Mediterranean - Chile
Rodriguez y Silva,Francisco
A study of response times for the arrival of terrestrial forest fire fighting resources was undertaken. The advantage of the method proposed here is that it may be exactly replicated in different countries and under different environmental conditions, budgets and infrastructures for wildfire combat. This is an international-level support offering better reference material for optimizing terrestrial resources. In the combat of forest fires, fire fighting resource response times are of particular importance when evaluating fire advance speed and fire damage potential against time. Due to the importance of speed in fire containment and the economic consequences of a fire, a fire combat response time curve was constructed using fire fighting operation data from 1,006 fires that occurred in a Mediterranean region of Chile. Five categories were established according to fire size and fire behavior and were based on the conditions of the perimeter fire control strategies. The results show different fire evolution curves for affected areas. In fires less than 1 ha in size, the first fire fighting attack lasted on average 25 min, compared with up to 69' for fires approximately 20 ha in size. The affected surface area ranged from 0.97 to 11.43 ha over these size ranges. The response time decreased for fires greater than 20 ha, mainly due to the predominance of aerial resources that accelerate the first fire fighting attack. The average burnt area ranged from 11.43 to 31.92 ha, which suggests good combat efficiency, given that these fires present very aggressive behavior. Mathematical functions were derived from this analysis, which describe fire fighting tasks in terms of fire advance time. This innovative study, for which there are no other references in scientific literature, will allow cost and efficiency functions to be derived for forest fire combat, among other benefits. As indicated earlier, the advantage of this research is that the methods may be perfectly adapted to the operative conditions faced by an organization during the wildfire season. Knowledge of response curves enables optimization of financial resources to increase terrestrial coverage of the protected area.