Analysis of the effects of slope, vegetation density, and ground surface roughness on travel rates for wildland firefighter escape route mapping

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This study compared resultant travel rates to LiDAR-derived estimates of slope, vegetation density and ground surface roughness using linear mixed effects modelling to quantify the relationships between these landscape conditions and travel rates. The best-fit model revealed significant negative relationships between travel rates and each of the three landscape conditions, suggesting that, in order of decreasing magnitude, as density, slope and roughness increase, travel rates decrease. Model coefficients were used to map travel impedance within the study area using LiDAR data, which enabled mapping the most efficient routes from fire crew locations to safety zones and provided an estimate of travel time.