Forest Fire Design

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Forest fire.png

The Forest Fire simulation enables you to explore how forest fires unravel by letting you set fires to virtual forests with different parameters such as:

  • tree density: how dense the forest is
  • fire spreading probability: if a tree is burning, how likely it is for the tree next to it to start burning too -- and in different directions to simulate wind
  • fire dying probability: once a tree is burning, how likely it is for the fire to go out – use to simulate how fast the fire goes out.

The simulation includes Tree agents that can burn down, Ground agents that act as background for trees and have the ability to create forests of different densities, and a Controller, which synchronizes the simulation.


Open the Forest Fire AgentSheets simulation or applet and try the following:

Using a pre-built forest

Open one of the existing worksheets (e.g. -- this forest was built with 50% tree density).

  • Run the simulation
  • Bring the Simulation Properties Editor and play with parameters such as Spread Probability (spread_prob) or Die Out Probability (die_out_prob) – all probabilities are in %
  • Reset simulation after each run to initialize the experiment

Creating your own forests

Do this if you want to change parameters such as forest density

  • Go to the Blank-Forest worksheet – or clear an existing one. If you clear an existing one, you need to add a Controller agent in the worksheet by selecting the controller in the Gallery and adding a single controller anywhere in the simulation with the Pencil tool.
  • Bring up Simulation Properties Editor and change the Density parameter to some %.
  • Select the Ground agent in the Gallery and use the Draw Rectangle tool in the worksheet to draw a forest. The simulation will automatically change Ground agents to trees according to the forest density parameter you specified. Please note that you can even create forests that include areas with different tree densities.
  • Set other Simulation Properties to values that you want for the experiment
  • Run the simulation.
  • Repeat experiment for different forest densities and/or fire spreading parameters.

Experiment with Wind

Open the "gone with the wind" worksheets or any of the forests you created, and try to simulate wind by changing the fire spreading probabilities in different directions

Computational Thinking Patterns

  • Perceive-Act Synchronization/Parallelization
  • Collision: tree on fire colliding with non-burning tree



Lesson Plans

Related Simulations

A Fire Simulation by the Shodor Foundation and a sample lesson plan