• Report

Santa Fe on fire: Agent-based modeling of wildfire evacuation dynamics


Thorp, J., Guerin, S., Wimberly, F., Rossbach, M., Densmore, O., Agar, M., & Roberts, D. (2006). Santa Fe on fire: Agent-based modeling of wildfire evacuation dynamics. Santa Fe, NM: Redfish Group.


This paper reviews a recent RedfishGroup project for the City of Santa Fe Fire and Police Department integrating wildfire simulation and agent-based modeling of traffic dynamics. Visualizations of the evacuation dynamics were used to communicate with citizens dangers faced during evacuations and to explore when shelter-in-place is a reasonable alternative to evacuation. Additional uses of the model were for use in "table top" exercises conducted by multi-agency emergency response teams and for identification of intersections and road segments expected to have high congestion. The paper reviews the modeling approach and the ecology of software tools used on the project. ESRI ArcView was used for preparing GIS data sources of housing, street centerline data, elevation maps and geo-referenced aerial infrared imaging for wildfire fuels modeling. Netlogo was used for early prototyping of both cellular automata-based wildfire models and for network-based traffic models. FARSITE was later integrated for wildfire simulation. Open-source Blender3D was a central tool for this project used for both agent-based modeling and 3D visualization. The traffic agent-based model of 50,000 cars on the Santa Fe road network was written directly in Blender using Python. The traffic visualization was combined with wildfire simulation output from FARSITE and rendered in 3D in Blender. Simulation results were deployed for community use in Google Earth and Quicktime visualizations generated by Blender.