Simulation analysis of a wildfire suppression system

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Tiago Oliveira
Abilio Pereira Pacheco
João Claro
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Rekindles and false alarms are unusually high in the Portuguese wildfire management system, representing a high burden on suppression resources in particular, and fire management resources in general. In 20,049 occurrences that the suppression system handled in the summer of 2010, 12.5% were false alarms and 15.0% were rekindles. We present a discrete-event simulation model of a wildfire suppression system, designed to analyze the joint impact of primary fires, rekindles and false alarms on system performance. The work contributes to fill a research gap concerning that impact, and features a novel application of simulation to suppression systems, as screening tools to support more holistic analyses. The model was implemented in ®ARENA, and used for a study of a Portuguese district. We found that reducing false alarms and rekindles to benchmark values would significantly reduce pressure on firefighting teams, enabling more effective suppression operations.