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e-Sanctuary: Open Multi-Physics Framework for Modelling Wildfire Urban Evacuation

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: “e-Sanctuary: Open Multi-Physics Framework for Modelling Wildfire Urban Evacuation"
Authors: Enrico Ronchi, Steven Gwynne, Guillermo Rein, Rahul Wadhwani, Paolo Intini and Albin Bergstedt
Date of issue
: December 2017


The word sanctuary has different meanings, generally referring to a safe place. In a broader sense, it may represent the immunity afforded by refuge in such a place. This concept is used here to describe our work, an e-sanctuary is a modelling tool which is designed to provide shelter and safety. This is one of the main goals of the present work, i.e. the identification of a modelling framework which can be used to inform decision making in case of wildland urban interface fires and eventually help evacuees in finding shelter (their own sanctuary).

The number of evacuees worldwide during wildfire keep rising, year after year. Fire evacuations at the wildland-urban interfaces (WUI) pose a serious challenge to fire and emergency services and are a global issue affecting thousands of communities around the world. But to date, there is a lack of comprehensive tools able to inform, train or aid the evacuation response and the decision making in case of wildfire. The present work describes a novel framework for modelling wildfire urban evacuations. The framework is based on multi-physics simulations that can quantify the evacuation performance. The work argues that an integrated approached requires considering and integrating all three important components of WUI evacuation, namely: fire spread, pedestrian movement, and traffic movement. The report includes a systematic review of each model component, and the key features needed for the integration into a comprehensive toolkit.