Creation of GIS data requirements for FARSITE modeling of an historic wildfire

Thomas M Williams, Brian J Williams, Bo Song


The September 1, 1894 fire near Hinckley, Minnesota has well documented accounts from many survivors that allow position of the flame front to be established for a number of times throughout the fire. FARSITE is a modern fire spread rate simulation model requiring spatial layers of elevation, slope aspect, timber type, and derived layers of fuel type, crown cover, stand height, crown base height, crown bulk density, duff and coarse woody debris. We combined present GIS data, historical map data, and present ecosystem properties to provide data needed for these layers. GIS output of FARSITE spread predictions were used to match flame front position to eyewitness accounts and model parameters were altered to produce a flame front location and time that matched eyewitness location and timing.


19th century forest fire, Fire visualization, mega-fire, Hinckley MN

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