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Combining Wildfire Behaviour Simulations and Connectivity Metrics to Support Wildfire Management †

Forest Research Centre, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon, 1649-004 Lisboa, Portugal
INESC-ID and Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, IST-Taguspark, 1000-029 Lisboa, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the Third International Conference on Fire Behavior and Risk, Sardinia, Italy, 3–6 May 2022.
Environ. Sci. Proc. 2022, 17(1), 66;
Published: 11 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The Third International Conference on Fire Behavior and Risk)


The recent extreme wildfire seasons have overwhelmed the fire-suppression capabilities of national authorities, evidencing the need for a paradigm shift in wildfire management. Wildfire spread and behaviour simulations provide relevant information for the assessment of fire hazards and for guiding decision makers in implementing preventive fuel-reduction strategies. In this study, we introduce and combined a new graph-based connectivity index with fire-line intensity to quantify the influence of spatial arrangement of fuels on wildfire hazards. The analysis uses a new connectivity index complemented by well-established graph-based metrics, namely the centrality and size of the largest component. The developed approach was applied to Serra de Monchique, in Southwestern Portugal. Specifically, we used the connectivity metrics to: (i) quantify the effect of fire weather scenarios on fire hazard; and (ii) evaluate the potential effectiveness of local fuel-break networks in decreasing fuel connectivity. Our results show that the combination of new connectivity index and graph-based metrics allow the location of high wildfire and fuel connectivity areas (i.e., fire hubs); and anticipate the locations where wildfire suppression may be compromised under specific fire–weather conditions. We identified the most important fuel-break segments in the north and west of Serra Monchique, particularly in areas covered by eucalyptus plantations and oak woodlands. These highlighted fuel-break segments are the same regardless of the wind directions and fire–weather scenarios considered. We further show that fuel connectivity is sensitive to the planned fuel-reduction strategy and that active fuel management may decrease landscape connectivity during extreme weather conditions to levels of fire intensity similar to those of non-extreme fire–weather scenarios without management. We anticipate that these network metrics will be helpful to both land planners and wildfire researchers seeking to assess different fuel-reduction strategies in fire-prone regions.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, B.A.A., J.M.C.P. and A.C.L.S.; methodology, B.A.A., F.C.S. and A.C.L.S.; software, B.A.A.; validation, B.A.A., J.M.C.P. and A.C.L.S.; formal analysis, B.A.A.; investigation, B.A.A. and A.C.L.S.; resources, B.A.A., J.M.C.P. and A.C.L.S.; data curation, B.A.A. and C.B.; writing—original draft preparation, B.A.A.; writing—review and editing, J.M.C.P., A.C.L.S., C.B. and F.C.S.; visualization, B.A.A.; supervision, B.A.A., A.C.L.S. and J.M.C.P. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


The authors would like to acknowledge the support of FCT by providing funding to the Forest Research Centre (UIDB/00239/2020). B.A.A. was supported by the individual research grant from the FCT (UI/BD/150755/2020). A.C.L.S. was supported under the framework of the contract-program nr.1382 (DL 57/2016/CP1382/CT0003). C.B. was supported by the project foRESTER, a project funded by FCT (PCIF/SSI/0102/2017). J.M.C.P. was supported by FireCast- Forecasting fire probability and characteristics for a habitable pyroenvironment (PCIF/GRF/0204/2017), funded by FCT.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Aparício, B.A.; Pereira, J.M.C.; Santos, F.C.; Bruni, C.; Sá, A.C.L. Combining Wildfire Behaviour Simulations and Connectivity Metrics to Support Wildfire Management. Environ. Sci. Proc. 2022, 17, 66.

AMA Style

Aparício BA, Pereira JMC, Santos FC, Bruni C, Sá ACL. Combining Wildfire Behaviour Simulations and Connectivity Metrics to Support Wildfire Management. Environmental Sciences Proceedings. 2022; 17(1):66.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Aparício, Bruno A., José M. C. Pereira, Francisco C. Santos, Chiara Bruni, and Ana C. L. Sá. 2022. "Combining Wildfire Behaviour Simulations and Connectivity Metrics to Support Wildfire Management" Environmental Sciences Proceedings 17, no. 1: 66.

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