GIS Approach to the Solution of the Project for Forecasting the Development of Natural Fires in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone Based on the Rothermel Model

Yu. I. Kuzmenko, T. D. Lev, O. G. Tishchenko, V. N. Piskun, L. V. Gavlovska

Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants, NAS of Ukraine, 12, Lysogirska st., Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine



The problem of forest fires in the Chornobyl exclusion zone (ChEZ) is urgent, since vegetation in radioactively contaminated areas is annually destroyed and damaged, causing a rise and transfer of radioactive aerosol to significant distances. This affects the ecological state of the environment, including human settlements. Foreign and domestic experience shows the successful use of specialized software (software) for predicting and propagating lower forest fires constructed using the semi-empirical model of Rothermel based on the spatial distribution of complexes of plant combustible materials and local natural and geographical conditions. The results of using software based on the open-source geographic information system GRASS GIS 7.6 and an algorithm for calculating the fire propagation rate based on the Andrews code implemented in the BEHAVE PLUS system are presented in the article. To implement the software in the test area of the ChEZ, specialized geoinformation support was created, including up-to-date maps of the ChEZ vegetation cover identified in the types of Fuel Models, maps of the soil radioactive contamination, morphometric characteristics of the terrain and meteorological conditions. High-precision terrain elevation maps were used. They were obtained using the global set of digital terrain models of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with a grid spacing of 30 m. All input data were interpolated into a regular network with a grid spacing of 30 m and reduced to a single metric coordinate system. The application of the Rothermel model, implemented in the open-source software GRASS GIS and adapted to the ChEZ conditions for modeling fires at the test site, allows one to determine fire propagation parameters under dry conditions. It is shown that, depending on the location of the source of ignition, differences in the propagation velocity of the burn-up area can vary up to 3 times. The largest burn-up areas in this case occur in areas with a predominance of grassy fuel models. The contours of fires can also vary significantly depending on the terrain, the presence of barriers and the configuration of fuel models at a particular location. The contours of the fire spread and the contamination map of the 137Cs territory make it possible to calculate the reserve of radionuclides in the fire source and their changes in time with increasing fire spread. Based on test calculations, output fire distribution maps for various time intervals and maps of total 137Cs reserves along the fire perimeter were obtained, which are the initial information for further modeling of atmospheric emissions and transport of radioactive aerosol during a fire.

Keywords: fuel models, geographic information support, fire spread, modeling.


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