Wildfire Simulator is a fire-growth computer model that lets users see how certain conditions, such as wind speed and direction, affect the spread of a wildland fire. In addition, it shows users how to use a fireline—alone or in conjunction with a backfire—to control a fire. (A fireline is a path along which fuel has been removed, and a backfire is a fire purposely set to burn away fuel.) To begin this interactive, set wind and fuel conditions by selecting various options in the “Wind” and “Fuel” section at the bottom of the screen. Using the "fire" icon located in the “Tools” section at the bottom of the screen, you will start a fire. Next, if you decide to fight the fire, your goal is to stop the fire from reaching the house. To stop the fire, create a fireline with the tool that looks like a pick and widen the fireline by creating a backfire with the drip torch (These icons are located in the “Tool” section at the bottom of the screen.
This site is a great resource for students to learn about fires and factors that affect wildfires. Students will learn about wind and fuel (anything that can burn…dead, living or dormant vegetation found in nature) in terms of their influence on wildfires. They will also learn about techniques that are used to fight wildfires such as, clearing a fireline and/or setting a backfire. Information on this site can be tied to topics in biology and technology. Have students list what types of technology are used to fight wildfires and have them write a paragraph about how wildfires effect the environment (the ecosystem).