CSE498, Collaborative Design, Spring 2022
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

The Anthropocene Institute is a non-profit organization located in Palo Alto, California. They unite entrepreneurs, thought leaders and investors to advance clean energy technology and climate policy.

The National Interagency Coordination Center reports that in 2020, 58,950 wildfires burned 10.1 million acres (about twice the area of New Jersey), the second-most acreage impacted in a year since 1960. Nearly 40% of these acres were in California. A vital component of wildfire safety is public awareness and education.

Our Wildfire Risks Forecasting Tool provides users with an interactive web application that helps them understand the impacts of wildfires in their communities. Our tool provides visualizations of wildfire spread, as well as educational information about damages posed by wildfires and strategies for wildfire mitigation.

Our tool utilizes decades of research conducted by the US Forest Service to create an accessible, physics-based wildfire simulation interface that shows how a wildfire might spread.

Individuals can simulate fires under a wide variety of conditions, including current or historic weather conditions, and can also manually adjust parameters such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. In addition to wildfire spread, users can view estimates of damage caused by these fires as well as footprints of historic fires. Our tool provides users with strategies to enhance their own safety and the safety of their communities.

The simulation model is based on FARSITE, utilizing weather and fuel data curated by US Government agencies. The tool is fully implemented in Python. Our back end uses the robust geospatial data frameworks of Xarray and netCDF, as well as the numerical efficiency of NumPy and Numba. Our front end is a Flask-based web server utilizing Plotly for visualization.