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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-03-13
    Description: The level-set method is typically used to track and propagate the fire perimeter in wildland fire models. Herein, a high-order level-set method using fifth-order WENO scheme for the discretization of spatial derivatives and third-order explicit Runge-Kutta temporal integration is implemented within the Weather Research and Forecasting model wildland fire physics package, WRF-Fire. The algorithm includes solution of an additional partial differential equation for level-set reinitialization. The accuracy of the fire front shape and rate of spread in uncoupled simulations is systematically analyzed. It is demonstrated that the common implementation used by level-set-based wildfire models yields to rate-of-spread errors in the range 10 – 35% for typical grid sizes (Δ = 12.5 – 100 m) and considerably underestimates fire area. Moreover, the amplitude of fire-front gradients in the presence of explicitly resolved turbulence features is systematically underestimated. In contrast, the new WRF-Fire algorithm results in rate-of-spread errors that are lower than 1% and that become nearly grid independent. Also, the underestimation of fire area at the sharp transition between the fire front and the lateral flanks is found to be reduced by a factor of 7. A hybrid-order level-set method with locally reduced artificial viscosity is proposed, which substantially alleviates the computational cost associated with high-order discretizations while preserving accuracy. Simulations of the Last Chance wildfire demonstrate additional benefits of high-order accurate level-set algorithms when dealing with complex fuel heterogeneities, enabling propagation across narrow fuel gaps and more accurate fire backing over the lee side of no fuel clusters.
    Electronic ISSN: 1942-2466
    Topics: Geography , Geosciences
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