In the past few years ICONA has been developing an expert system for forest firefighting in order to improve decision making on the use of personnel and equipment and to minimize costs.
The high number of fires and the frequent simultaneity in most regions ask for an objective method to decide priorities.
The system uses the BEHAVE program which was developed by the U.S. Forest Service. Inputs are fuel models, topography and weather data. The program forecasts rate of speed, fire intensity and flame height.
Using this information the dispatch officer can appraise the forces to be sent to the fire.
The BEHAVE outputs are the basis for the simulation program named CARDIN, created by the Madrid Polytechnical University under a contract with ICONA.
CARDIN shows on the computer screen the most probable evolution of the fire. A digitization program named DIGICAR has also been developed to supply one of the inputs needed, that is the fuel maps. These maps are being created for the most sensitive areas. Digitization can be made by every field service by using the referred DIGICAR. It can also be used to digitize the topographic maps when they are not available from other agency.
A third program, named GFUEGO, is on development for the personnel and equipment to be dispatched. A data base has been created to collect information about performances, rates of speed to create firelines and travel speeds. All these programs run on PC computers.
From: Ricardo Velez Area de Defensa contra Incendios Forestales Address: ICONA-Subdireccion General de Proteccion de la Naturaleza Gran Via de San Francisco, 35 E-28005 Madrid