Project: Escaping wildfires using a mobile app and a fire propagation model

Description: Over the past couple of decades, the number of wildfires and area of land burned around the world has been steadily increasing, partly due to climatic changes and global warming. Therefore, there is a high probability that more people will be exposed to and endangered by forest fires. Hence there is an urgent need to design pervasive systems that effectively assist people and guide them to safety during wildfires.

This project has designed and developed EscapeWildFire, a framework for assisting citizens to escape wildfires in real-time. A mobile application is connected to a backend system which models and predicts the wildfire’s geographical progression, based on the vegetation and fuel types around the ignition source; as well as meteorological parameters such as wind speed. A separate interface is used by personnel of fire departments to indicate the exact position and time of ignition, as well as confirmation of the time the fire is fully extinguished. An evaluation of the framework considering different areas of the island of Cyprus as case studies is presented.

Results show that EscapeWildFire constitutes a correct, accepted, easy to use and realistic solution to the problem under study. Various recommendations for improvements have been recorded based on the feedback of participants in the case studies. The code of the framework is open-source, fire authorities around the world are encouraged to adopt this approach.

Collaboration with: Jean-Baptiste Filippi (University of Corsica)

Techniques used: Mobile app development, modelling, GIS, web programming.

Started: May 2020

Status: Finished

Andreas Kamilaris, Jean-Baptiste Filippi, Chirag Padubidri and Savvas Karatsiolis, Examining the potential of mobile applications to assist people to escape wildfires in real-time, Fire Safety Journal, vol. 136, no. 103747, April, 2023.

Andreas Kamilaris, Jean-Baptiste Filippi, Chirag Padubidri, Jesper Provoost, Savvas Karatsiolis, Ian Cole, Wouter Couwenbergh and Evi Demetriou, EscapeWildFire: Assisting People to Escape Wildfires in Real-Time, 6th IEEE International Workshop on Pervasive Context-Aware Smart Cities and Intelligent Transport System (PerAwareCity), Proc. of PerCom 2021, Kassel, Germany, March, 2021.

Outcomes: Open-source code of the framework