Canadian Forest Service Publications

Two dynamic programming algorithms for forest fire resource dispatching. 1989. Kourtz, P.H. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 19(1): 106-112.

Year: 1989

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 23507

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

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The dispatch of water bombers and fire-fighting crews to newly reported fires is an important task carried out by modern regional forest fire management centres. The problem of bomber dispatch involves the use of aircraft of varying speeds, cost, and fire-fighting effectiveness. Candidate aircraft for dispatch can be situated at remote attack bases or at ongoing fires. The problem of crew dispatch also involves candidate crews situated at remote attack bases or at ongoing fires, but unlike bomber dispatch, helicopter transport must be arranged. A transport helicopter must be flown to the specific crew's location and then to the fire. A helicopter is permitted a second trip to pick up an additional crew. The bomber- and crew-dispatch problems have both been formulated as dynamic programming algorithms. The bomber formulation closely resembles the traditional "knapsack" formulation. The crew and helicopter dispatch problem involves a more general formulation. Both algorithms are illustrated by simple examples. FORTRAN programs have been written for both algorithms. These programs are embedded within a large expert system which defines the desired bomber force and number of crews to be dispatched to a specific fire. This system is presently being tested at the North Central Regional Fire Centre of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, located at Thunder Bay. It is expected that this system will undergo several years of testing and modifications before it is considered operational. Recent trials at the Thunder Bay fire centre have demonstrated the potential of the expert system, including the two dynamic programming algorithms, by matching or exceeding the dispatching performance of the dispatchers.