New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Set Fire to the Rain

Team: 35

School: Jackson Middle School

Area of Science: Earth Science


Interim: The definition of the problem:
Our question is what would slow down a fire most whether it is firebreaks or secondary fuel or cutting/planting forests in specific shapes. Cutting or planting the forest into different shapes means making the forest into shapes like polygons and free form shapes. Cutting firebreaks means making a trench that has little or no plant life that the fire can’t cross.
The fire can move randomly and change directions very quickly. Forest fires can burn down homes and buildings and destroy farms. “Fires are caused by lightning, human carelessness, arson, volcanic eruptions, and the pyroclastic clouds from volcanic eruptions,”

The plan for solving the problem computationally:
Our plan for solving the problem computationally is by changing the Fire Program from the Netlogo models library so that the shape of the trees can be changed and see the speed that the fire progresses through the “maze”.
Another way the program is modified is to allow a patch color, so that if it all burns up the program will stop. I plan to use this to represent a town and see if it will burn or not.

Progress made up to this time:
We have researched the effects of forest fire and causes of fire whether it is with campfires, lightning, arson, power line malfunctions, or discarded cigarettes. We have also researched the contributors to forest fires. Some are, fuels, weather, and landscape. The program has been modified, instead of using the program to make the trees in a specific order For cutting down the trees change was made where the fire starts.
We have also obtained a table of fires, the area burnt by those fires, and in what year. The plan is to program a way to let the fire change to jump firebreaks and to have wind change speed and the direction the fire will go.

Results expected:
The results we expect to get from the program is a zigzag pattern or a spiral pattern of trees will allow the fires to move more slowly, opposed to a straight line of trees, which would burn extremely easily.
Another result we expect is that a different type of fire control method will slow the fire down and allow people or animals to escape and get to safety.

Team Members: Brendan Kuncel, Ivan McKenzie
Sponsor Teacher: Karen Glennon
Mentor: Neale Pickett





Weather Wiz Kids weather information for kids. (2013, January 1). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-wildfire.htm

See how fast wildfire spreads | EarthSky.org. (2014, January 1). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from http://earthsky.org/earth/see-how-fast-wildfire-spreads

10 Wild Fire Facts. (2014, January 1). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from http://mentalfloss.com/article/17222/10-wild-fire-facts

United States. National Park Service. (n.d.). Wildland Fire: Wildfire Causes | U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved November 17, 2014, from http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm

See how fast wildfire spreads | EarthSky.org. (2014, January 1). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from http://earthsky.org/earth/see-how-fast-wildfire-spreads


Team Members:

  Brendan Kuncel
  Ivan MacKenzie

Sponsoring Teacher: Karen Glennon

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