- Fire spread in deep and discontinuous fuel beds
- Fire simulation for purposes of fire risk assessment
Mark's research has included studies with fire spread in deep and discontinuous fuel beds, and fire simulation for purposes of fire risk assessment which has been done in direct support of the development of two major fire management systems WFDSS (Wildland Fire Decision Support System) and FPA (Fire Program Analysis). The FSPro model is used in WFDSS to estimate the probability of impact of an ongoing large fire. A similar model FSIM (Fire SIMulation system) is used in FPA to estimate the burn probability and variability in fire behavior across large landscapes.
Mark's accomplishments that have advanced the understanding of fire behavior and practical management of wildland fires include the following.
1. Development of the FARSITE simulation system for simulating the growth of wildland fires.
2. Development of the FlamMap software for landscape fire behavior assessment and fuel treatment optimization.
3. Spatial fuel treatment optimization—the basis for the national SPOTS program (strategic placement of treatments) and the R5 Stewardship and Fireshed Assessment Process.
4. Development of the FSProfire simulation program that is used by WFDSS to estimate the probability of fire impact for individual large wildland fires.
5. Development of the large fire simulation system (FSIM) for use in FPA—this is used to estimate the burn probability over very large landscape areas (10s of millions of acres), and the effects of suppression on fire size distributions.
6. Worked on fundamental fire behavior in discontinuous fuels and demonstrated how fire spreads across fuel gaps by convection not radiation.