Simulation analysis of the impact of ignitions, rekindles, and false alarms on forest fire suppression

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Abilio Pereira Pacheco
João Claro
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Rekindles and false alarms are phenomena that have a significant presence in the Portuguese forest fire management system and an important impact on suppression resources in particular and fire management resources in general. In this paper, we propose a discrete-event simulation model of a forest fire suppression system designed to analyze the joint impact of ignitions, rekindles, and false alarms on the performance of the system. The model is applied to a case study of the district of Porto, Portugal, for the critical period of the forest fire season, between July and September 2010. We study the behavior of the system's point of collapse, comparing the real base scenario with a benchmark scenario built with reference values for rekindles and false alarms, and also as a function of the number of fire incidents, considering historical variations. The results of the analysis are useful for operational decision-making and provide relevant information on the trade-off between prevention and suppression efforts.