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Clarifying evacuation options through fire behavior and traffic modeling

  • Rice, Carol L.
  • Coleman, Ronny J.
  • Price, Mike.

Year Published

2011

Publication

In: McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. 2011. Proceedings of the second conference on the human dimensions of wildland fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-84. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 104-111.

Abstract

Communities are becoming increasingly concerned with the variety of choices related to wildfire evacuation. We used ArcView with Network Analyst to evaluate the different options for evacuations during wildfire in a case study community. We tested overlaying fire growth patterns with the road network and population characteristics to determine recommendations for evacuation routes. We were able to develop time- and distance-based transportation models to identify preferred and alternate evacuation corridors. We also defined and applied network accumulation models to inventory, queue, and route evacuees using private and public transportation via the safest and fastest routes, without overloading the transportation system. The output from this type of modeling can be used as a decision support tool. Knowing the pace of the evacuation provides decisionmakers with information about the consequences of timing the decision to evacuate. The analysis can also quantify the effect of including additional residences or neighborhoods on the total evacuation time. This analysis makes it possible to identify information that is of vital importance to communities, such as specific routes and intersections that are appropriate and effective for evacuation and others that should be avoided.

Citation

Rice, Carol L.; Coleman, Ronny J.; Price, Mike. 2011. Clarifying evacuation options through fire behavior and traffic modeling. In: McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. 2011. Proceedings of the second conference on the human dimensions of wildland fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-84. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 104-111.

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