PrometheusPrometheus enables fire authorities to determine the likely spread and impact a wildfire can have on the rural landscape.


Prometheus is a Canadian wildland fire growth simulation model based on the Fire Weather Index (FWI) and Fire Behaviour Prediction (FBP) sub-systems of the Fire Danger Rating System. The model computes fire behaviour and spread outputs given fuel, topography and weather conditions. All spatial outputs are compatible with Geographic Information Systems.

Rather than develop a new model, the adaptation of an existing model to New Zealand conditions was seen as the most appropriate way forward. Prometheus was reprogrammed to incorporate the New Zealand fire danger rating (FWI System) inputs, fuel types and fire behaviour models in early 2010. This project was achieved through the financial support and collaborative efforts with DOC, Scion and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

Fire growth simulation models such as Prometheus have a wide range of potential uses. Three key activities can be undertaken using simulation models as a decision-support tool in New Zealand. These include:

  • Aiding development of suppression strategies during wildfire events that consider public and fire fighter safety (e.g., evacuations, location of fire crews) and values at risk;
  • As a planning tool prior to fire events to assess the potential risk of fire spread, and for use in 'what if' scenarios such as assessing fuel management effects; and
  • As a post-fire assessment tool, such as for determining the effectiveness of fire suppression operations and values saved.


Prometheus 6.0.0 was released on September 8, 2014. You can freely download the latest version online. Please read the important installation instructions before running. Some training is required on how to use Prometheus. Contact the rural fire research team for more information.

Other additional software to install:

  • Google Earth (
  • WindNinja 2.4.0 (
  • R 3.1.1 (
  • Power point, word doc, excel, adobe PDF