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Optimisation for Running a Firebreak

A forest fire is burning down a narrow valley 3 miles wide at a speed of 40 feet per minute. The fire can be contained by cutting a firebreak through the forest across the valley. It takes 30 seconds for one person to clear one foot of the firebreak. The value of lost timber is $4,000 per square mile. Each person hired is paid $12 an hour, and it costs $30 to transport and supply each person with the appropriate equipment.

a) Develop a model for determining how many people should be sent to contain the fire and for determining the best location of for the firebreak (draw a picture first!).

b) Implement your model on a spreadsheet and find the optimal solution using solver.

Solution Summary

The solution provides detailed explanation how to find the optimization strategy by using excel solver. It includes a hand-drawn graphic illustration of the problem and the excel spreadsheet with the working out.