Modeling urban fires


Spatially explicit model of fire spread in the city is a necessary background for estimating fire risks and establishing firefighting strategy and tactics. We develop CIFER – an agent-based city-scale model of the fire spread that simulates fire expansion within a building and fire transmission between buildings.

We apply our model to the Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cities, where most of the buildings are non-flammable. The spread of fire within a building strongly depends on the floor structure, location of the corridors and staircases and number, size and location of doors and windows. Fire spread between buildings critically depends on the properties and pattern of urban vegetation that fills the space between buildings and, in the summer, is dry and very flammable.

Photo by: Avi Ben Zaken


Our current focus is on the multiple ignitions that follow catastrophic events - earthquakes, armed conflicts and large forest fires at the city boundary. Regular firefighting forces are far below sufficient in this case and we propose and investigate a mixed tactics of firefighting that include volunteers and real-time dislocation of forces.


Y. Shaham, I Benenson, 2018, Modeling fire spread in cities with non-flammable construction, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction,