An open multi-physics framework for modelling wildland-urban interface fire evacuations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Fire evacuations at wildland-urban interfaces (WUI) pose a serious challenge to the emergency services, and are a global issue affecting thousands of communities around the world. This paper presents a multi-physics framework for the simulation of evacuation in WUI wildfire incidents, including three main modelling layers: wildfire, pedestrians, and traffic. Currently, these layers have been mostly modelled in isolation and there is no comprehensive model which accounts for their integration. The key features needed for system integration are identified, namely: consistent level of refinement of each layer (i.e. spatial and temporal scales) and their application (e.g. evacuation planning or emergency response), and complete data exchange. Timelines of WUI fire events are analysed using an approach similar to building fire engineering (available vs. required safe egress times for WUI fires, i.e. WASET/WRSET). The proposed framework allows for a paradigm shift from current wildfire risk assessment and mapping tools towards dynamic fire vulnerability mapping. This is the assessment of spatial and temporal vulnerabilities based on the wildfire threat evolution along with variables related to the infrastructure, population and network characteristics. This framework allows for the integration of the three main modelling layers affecting WUI fire evacuation and aims at improving the safety of WUI communities by minimising the consequences of wildfire evacuations.


  • Enrico Ronchi
  • Steven M.V. Gwynne
  • Guillermo Rein
  • Paolo Intini
  • Rahul Wadhwani
External organisations
  • National Research Council of Canada
  • Imperial College London
  • Polytechnic University of Bari
  • Victoria University
  • Movement Strategies
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Civil Engineering


  • Decision making, Evacuation, Fire, Modelling, Wildland-urban interface (WUI)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-880
Number of pages13
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch