Quantitative analysis of forest fire extinction efficiency

Miguel E. Castillo Soto, Francisco Rodriguez y Silva


Aim of study: Evaluate the economic extinction efficiency of forest fires, based on the study of fire combat undertaken by aerial and terrestrial means.

Area of study, materials and methods: Approximately 112,000 hectares in Chile.   Records of 5,876 forest fires that occurred between 1998 and 2009 were analyzed. The area further provides a validation sector for results, by incorporating databases for the years 2010 and 2012. The criteria used for measuring extinction efficiency were economic value of forestry resources,  Contraction Factor analysis and definition of the extinction costs function.

Main results: It is possible to establish a relationship between burnt area, extinction costs and economic losses. The method proposed may be used and adapted to other fire situations, requiring unit costs for aerial and terrestrial operations, economic value of the property to be protected and speed attributes of fire spread in free advance.

Research highlights: The determination of extinction efficiency in containment works of forest fires and potential projection of losses, different types of plant fuel and local conditions favoring the spread of fire broaden the admissible ranges of a, φ and Ce considerably.

Keywords: Forest fire; Combat efficiency; Productivity analysis.

Abbreviations: FCS; Superficial Contraction Factor.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015242-06644

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems