Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Medal, Hugh R.

Committee Member

Marufuzzaman, Mohammad

Committee Member

Eksioglu, Sandra D.

Committee Member

Li, Xiaopeng

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Industrial and Systems Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering


In this dissertation, an important homeland security problem is studied. With the focus on wildfire and pyro-terrorism management. We begin the dissertation by studying the vulnerability of landscapes to pyro-terrorism. We develop a maximal covering based optimization model to investigate the impact of a pyro-terror attack on landscapes based on the ignition locations of fires. We use three test case landscapes for experimentation. We compare the impact of a pyro-terror wildfire with the impacts of naturally-caused wildfires with randomly located ignition points. Our results indicate that a pyro-terror attack, on average, has more than twice the impact on landscapes than wildfires with randomly located ignition points. In the next chapter, we develop a Stackelberg game model, a min-max network interdiction framework that identifies a fuel management schedule that, with limited budget, maximally mitigates the impact of a pyro-terror attack. We develop a decomposition algorithm called MinMaxDA to solve the model for three test case landscapes, located in Western U.S. Our results indicate that fuel management, even when conducted on a small scale (when 2% of a landscape is treated), can mitigate a pyro-terror attack by 14%, on average, comparing to doing nothing. For a fuel management plan with 5%, and 10% budget, it can reduce the damage by 27% and 43% on average. Finally, we extend our study to the problem of suppression response after a pyro-terror attack. We develop a max-min model to identify the vulnerability of initial attack resources when used to fight a pyro-terror attack. We use a test case landscape for experimentation and develop a decomposition algorithm called Bounded Decomposition Algorithm (BDA) to solve the problem since the model has bilevel max-min structure with binary variables in the lower level and therefore not solvable by conventional methods. Our results indicate that although pyro-terror attacks with one ignition point can be controlled with an initial attack, pyro-terror attacks with two and more ignition points may not be controlled by initial attack. Also, a faster response is more promising in controlling pyro-terror fires.



bilevel programming||decomposition algorithms||Stackelberg game||Homeland security