Age evolution in the mean field forest fire model via multitype branching processes

Edward Crane*, Balazs Rath, Dominic Yeo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


We study the distribution of ages in the mean field forest fire model introduced by Rath and Toth. This model is an evolving random graph whose dynamics combine Erdos-Renyi edge-addition with a Poisson rain of lightning strikes. All edges in a connected component are deleted when any of its vertices is struck by lightning. We consider the asymptotic regime of lightning rates for which the model displays self-organized criticality. The age of a vertex increases at unit rate, but it is reset to zero at each burning time. We show that the empirical age distribution converges as a process to a deterministic solution of an autonomous measure-valued differential equation. The main technique is to observe that conditioned on the vertex ages the graph is an inhomogeneous random graph in the sense of Bollobas, Janson and Riordan. We then study the evolution of the ages via the multitype Galton-Watson trees that arise as the limit in law of the component of an identified vertex at any fixed time. These trees are critical from the gelation time onwards.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages46
JournalAnnals of Probability
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Dec 2020


  • inhomogeneous random graph
  • multitype branching process
  • self-organized criticality
  • Perron–Frobenius theory
  • differential equations


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