In late 2012, Prof. Bernard Beauzamy of the Société de Calcul Mathématique SA proposed a “mathematical game” inspired by the massive fires that occurred in Siberia during the summer of 2012. This article is our entry for the competition.

In this contest, Siberia is divided into regions called “trapezes'”, bounded by latitude and longitude lines (see figures in the appendix), and for each region a percentage is given of urban, cultivated, and virgin zones. Probabilities are defined that a fire would start in a region over a given period of time, which would lead to damage, with urban areas facing significantly larger damages than cultivated or virgin areas. Also provided are rules for fire-fighting that involve the placement of fire brigades and airplanes in the center of each trapeze, rules for the spread and dousing of fires, and more rules for the speed of fire-fighting equipment and the availability of water. The objective is to distribute the fire-fighters among 94 different trapezes, and to define strategies to send out the fire-fighters depending on the location of the fires, in order to minimize total damage and total fire-fighting costs. Two key points to keep in mind are: (1) we are allowed to make assumptions beyond what was given by Prof. Beauzamy, provided that these assumptions “make sense and are explicitly set'”, and (2) there will be scenarios where the fire-fighting capabilities will prove to be insufficient.

It is noted in the description from Prof. Beauzamy that “This Competitive Game is a part of a collaborative project which SCM proposes to the Government of Novosibirsk Oblast, dealing with natural risks. This project received the support of the French Embassy in Moscow.”


The Society’s website:


The Society’s announcement of the 2013 winners:


Document announcing the 2012-2013 competition: