AN AGENT-BASED MODEL TO REPRESENT SPACE-TIME PROPAGATION OF FOREST-FIRE SMOKE
Agent-based modeling approaches have been used for various case studies related to the geospatial dynamics of complex systems. The proliferation of forest-fire smoke and the associated airborne particulate matter that behaves as complex systems make it important to develop reliable geospatial models that can simulate the propagation process to avoid impacts to human health and the environment. Therefore, the main objective of this research study is the development and implementation of an agent-based model (ABM) for the propagation of forest-fire smoke and other airborne particulate matter for use in studying patterns of spatio-temporal propagation. The developed ABM operates on a two-dimensional plane in the landscape where agents representing forest fires emit agents representing smoke. These smoke agents propagate through the study area based on measured atmospheric conditions. The model was developed using data from the 2017 forest fire season in British Columbia (BC) and parts of Alberta, Canada, particularly during the period August 10th–25th. The obtained simulation results provided patterns of spatio-temporal propagation of fire smoke over large areas of BC and Alberta, and were compared to the real smoke patterns covering the Edmonton metropolitan area, Canada on a similar date. The developed agent-based model can be used to support the emergency planning and decision-making process such as in regulating forest fire evacuations and in the prevention of health problems triggered by the exposure to smoke.