Forest Fire Simulation

Each pixel in the green field below represents a tree (or the size can be changed.) This applet models the spread of fire as a function of the probability that a burning tree will set its neighbor afire, and can include factors of wind and obstacles.

Enter your operating parameters, then click pixels on the green field to locate the initial burning trees. You may start more than one fire. Press the "GO" button to start the simulation. You can alter between "Pause" and "Go". You can start another fire at any time, even when the simulation is running.

Creata obstacles (like water) by using the "Obstacle" function. Click and hold on the forest to trace the outline of the obstacle. Select the "Fill" function then click the interior of your obstacle to fill it in. Even though it will look like water, it could represent anything, like a trench.

You can also test the effect of wind. Set the change in directional probability caused by wind (the stronger you want the wind, the higher the probability change should be.) Move the compass needle by clicking on the point of the compass you want the wind to blow. This can be done at any time, even when the simulation is running.

Warning! Even though this model was intended to be used as an educational model, it has become more like a game and can be quite compelling.

Comments and discussion regarding this model are welcome via E-mail to Chuck Biehl at: