Dhimurru Fire Spread: an Incendiary simulation model


  1. Introduction
  2. Setting up the software and model
  3. Running the model


The way in which fires move through country can be very complex and hard to predict particularly when they burn for many days over large areas, as is common in the tropical savannas of northern Australia. The primary purpose of the model is to show how a range of variables affect fire spread when conducting fire management burns early in the dry season and how these fuel reduction fires are likely to affect the spread of late season wildfires.  The model is not attempting to predict fire spread but rather provide a useful teaching and planning tool when thinking about fire management operations in Northern Australia.

One model has been produced for the Dhimurru IPA as shown in the coloured region below.


For participatory planning activities and the models are displayed as a projection onto sand that we can shape to fit the terrain. Running the model over a 3D terrain to helps us think about how fire is affected by topography and vegetation. A key component of this representation is the way it allows us to share ideas and knowledge.

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Setting up the software and model

The simulation has been developed in NetLogo, free open source modelling software.

Once you have NetLogo running you will need to load (File>Open) the unzipped fire spread. Next ‘load’ the model layers by pressing the “Load Model” button on the top left of the software window under the ‘Set-Up’ heading.  A map of the model area will then appear as shown below.

Running the Model

Now the model has loaded it is possible to ignite parts of the country and explore how varying weather conditions effect a burn outcomes.  A detailed description of how to use the model is provided in this document:

  • Dhimurru fire spread model – what it is and how to use it.

And in the video below: