A decision support system for firebase location in a nature conservation area

R Reed, JH van Vuuren

Abstract


It is important that firebases are available on standby at strategic locations in a nature conservation area from where wildfire ignition points can be reached rapidly and such fires brought under control before they spread. Two facility location models are proposed in this paper which may form the basis for decision support when deciding on the locations of such firebases in a nature conservation area. Both of these models are multi-objective in nature. They are able to produce solutions that embody trade-off decisions between minimising the cost of locating firebases and maximising the coverage of key areas in a conservation area. These trade-offs may be based on a variety of coverage importance criteria, such as aiming to cover terrain portions exhibiting a steep ground slope, terrain portions that experience a high annual mean wind speed, or terrain portions in which many wildfires have ignited in the past. The coverage criteria are typically case-specific and may therefore be specified by the decision maker. Both models, as well as their approximate solution methodology, are implemented in the form of a computerised decision support system in order to render them accessible to non-mathematically inclined decision makers. The decision support system is validated by applying it to a special case study involving Table Mountain National Park, a nature conservation area in the Western Cape, South Africa.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5784/33-2-562

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ISSN 2224-0004 (online); ISSN 0259-191X (print)

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