IAWF Homepage



Contact Us:

Mikel Robinson
Executive Director

International Association of Wildland Fire
1418 Washburn Street
Missoula, Montana 59801 USA

(01) (406) 531-8264
Toll Free from US & Canada:
(888) 440-IAWF (4293)



4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference

At the Crossroads: Looking Toward the Future in a Changing Environment

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
February 18 -22, 2013

St. Petersburg, Russia
July 1 - 4, 2013


Wildfires Dynamic Modeling Based on Hamilton Mechanics Methods
Georgy Alexeevich Dorrer,  Ph.D., Siberian Technological University, Krasnoyarsk

ABSTRACT: The forest fire models may be divided on some classes. The most detailed physically grounded models contain set of equations of mass, energy and heat balance in the burning fuel and appropriate boundaries and initial conditions. Models of other class describe dynamics of the fire front as a spatial wave. This models requires a few input parameters, it gives acceptable precision and may be used with forest fire management.

The wave processes may be described with using of the Hamilton mechanics methods which permit to describe uniformly a wide class of dynamic processes. In the report presented such approach has used for description of burning wave propagation through a fuel bed. This process under the certain assumptions may be understood as a mathematical model of the forest fire dynamics in interaction with the fire crews. The formalism of indicatrixes and figurotrixes as a work instrument for investigation and numerical modeling the propagation processes is suggested. On basis of the methods mentioned following problems linked with the forest fire dynamics and fire suppression are developed:
- modeling of the fire propagation;
- numerical simulation the complex-shaped forest fires edges;
- modeling the fire crews motion and forest fire suppression;
- modeling the process of avoiding a human from the forest fire.

Bio: Dr. Dorrer is a Professor of Technical Sciences and head of the Department System Techniques at the Siberian State Technological University, Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation. Dr. Dorrer graduated from Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute in 1960. He did his postgraduate at the Institute Automatics and Electrometric, Novosibirsk in 1968. He was a PhD candidate of technical sciences in1969 and received his doctorate of technical sciences in 1989. His field of interest is mathematical and computing modeling the processes of forest protection; modeling the educational processes.
He has authored more than 200 works, including 5 monographs, 6 manuals for students. The most capital work is monograph: "Forest fire dynamics", Novosibirsk, 2008, - 404 p.

Computer Modeling of Wildland and Wildland-urban Interface Fires
Ruddy Mell, PhD., US Forest Service

ABSTRACT: The last 15 years have seen the development of wildland and wildland-urban interface (WUI) fire behavior models that make use of modern numerical methods in fluid dynamics and combustion physics. Currently, these approaches are too computationally expensive for operational use and, as for any fire behavior model, require validation through comparison to full-scale measurements. However, these 'physics-based ' models have the potential of providing a more complete understanding of fire behavior over a wider range of environmental conditions than empirically based models. They are also capable of directly computing radiative and convective heat and firebrand fluxes, which are essential elements in the problem areas of fire fighter safety, fire effects on vegetation or soil, or structure ignition in the WUI. The promise of physics-based models is not to replace the use of simpler and faster fire front propagation models, but to provide a well-founded understanding of their limitations and a means of improving them. This presentation will provide an overview of wildland fire modeling with an emphasis on high-end physics-based modeling. Examples of applying physics-based modeling to the testing of simpler, faster than real time, models such as FARISTE will be given, as well as a discussion of the need for theoretical and experimental advances to support model development.

BIO: Ruddy Mell is a combustion engineer with the U.S. Forest Service who has been involved with computer modeling of wildland fires and wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires for the past 10 years. Prior to entering the field of wildland fire he worked in the areas of modeling turbulent combustion, microgravity combustion, and structure fires at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His model development work occurs in close collaboration with experimentalists and modelers at the U.S. Forest Service, NIST, and academia. His current focus is on the development and testing of the wildland-urban interface fire dynamics simulator suite (WFDS). The objective of these models, and results from field and laboratory work, is to provide better tools for wildland and WUI fire researchers and guidelines for WUI homeowners, communities, and fire officials for risk assessment and mitigation.

Managing fire in the Mediterranean Basin: insights from fire-frequent landscapes
Paulo M. Fernandes, Associate Professor, Forest and Landscape Department of the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), Portugal

ABSTRACT: Modified, more severe fire regimes developing in Southern Europe are primarily attributed to changes in land use leading to higher fuel connectivity and fuel accumulation. Fire management in the region disregards the structural causes of fires and fails to integrate fire and forest management strategies, being currently driven by short-term fire control policies whose success is limited to non-extreme weather conditions. Improvement of the scientific basis to rationalize fire management in Europe implies better understanding of the genesis of large and mega-fires and of how the fire regime is controlled. Fire regimes will be amenable to mitigation to the extent that bottom-up controls (ignitions and fuels) are not overwhelmed by top-down controls (weather-drought and climate).
Large-scale fuel management has succeeded in maintaining socially acceptable fire regimes elsewhere in the world, but fuel treatments implemented on a landscape scale are uncommon in Europe. However, fuel loading and fire intensity are expected to vary inversely with fire frequency, and small, frequent fires create fuel mosaics that result in high landscape pyrodiversity. Wildfire incidence and severity in fire-frequent landscapes can then be viewed as surrogates for the outcomes of area-wide fuel management. The presentation will address fire-fuel-weather relationships in fire-frequent landscapes of the western Mediterranean Basin.

BIO: Dr. Paulo Fernandes holds an Associate Professor position at the Forest and Landscape Department of the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), Portugal, where in 2003 he received his Ph.D. in Forest Science. He is affiliated with the Centre for the Research and Technology on Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences of UTAD and, as a collaborator, with the Centre for Applied Ecology, University of Lisbon, Portugal. His work has addressed the behaviour, ecology and management of wildland fire, mainly in the topics of fuel characterization and field-based assessment and modelling of fire characteristics and severity, especially in the frame of prescribed burning studies in Mediterranean shrubland and pine forests. Current interests include the interaction between fire behaviour and fire effects and fuels and weather as fire-regime drivers. He is regularly involved in prescribed fire training and cooperation with government agencies and forest companies in fire management matters. Dr. Fernandes has recently joined the Board of Directors of the International Association of Wildland Fire and also serves on the Supervisory Board of the Pau Costa Foundation for Fire Ecology and Management.

Fire Research in the US Forest Service: 100 years Navigating Crossroads for the Future
Colin Hardy, Program Manager, USDA Forest Service Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory Missoula, Montana, USA

ABSTRACT: When the US Forest Service was officially established in 1905, most efforts focused on producing timber and establishing the infrastructure needed to offer the goods and services of these public lands to the American people.  It was soon apparent that aggressive “timbering,” increased access, and the people themselves posed significant risks to these lands in the form of greater fuels loads and increased ignitions.  The new Forest Service lands required protection from fire, which required new science. Thus the agency reached its first crossroads in regard to fire: A wildland fire science program was established in 1919 at an experimental forest in northern Idaho, USA.  Early fire research was largely empirical, focusing on fuel condition, weather, and ignition, and leading directly to field applications.  However, early scientists recognized that, for research to be adaptable and widely applicable, it must be based on first principles and fundamental experimentation.  This led to a second crossroads in fire research: The laboratory infrastructure needed for basic research was established in the 1960s.  In this presentation, I describe the use of early basic research to develop applied fire management systems in the 1970s and refine them through subsequent decades, and note that much of this refinement has focused on the applied side of this basic-to-applied continuum. I suggest that the 21st century’s changing human demographics, climate, and fire regimes, along with innovations in risk-based decision-making, have brought us to another crossroads: In our haste to develop new tools for managing fire in this changing environment, we must base them on fundamental research to ensure they are valid and widely applicable.

BIO: Dr. Hardy's research organization is the largest unit in the country dedicated to wildland fire, and the laboratory comprises the most comprehensive and largest suite of combustion and wind tunnel facilities in the world.  Dr. Hardy is a native of Missoula, and is a second-generation fire scientist.  Beginning in 1981, his first eleven years of research were with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in Seattle, Washington, where he was involved in prescribed fire research and emissions characterization.  In addition to numerous publications on smoke emissions from prescribed and wildland fire, his leadership in that work culminated in production of the comprehensive Smoke Management Guide for Prescribed and Wildland Fire, published in 2001 by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.  While a scientist at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, Dr. Hardy served as the national lead scientist for the initial development and mapping of Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) data for the USA, with ultimate delivery of the nation-wide data in the form of the Coarse-scale Spatial Data for Wildland Fire and Fuel Management.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana, a Master’s of Forest Resource Management from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Montana.  His doctoral work focused on thermal infrared remote sensing of wildland fires, with substantial work characterizing and mapping geo-thermal features in Yellowstone National Park.  He has published over 75 papers relating to wildland fire, smoke emissions, fire regimes, and fire remote sensing.  Dr. Hardy is the national Team Lead for the Core Fire Science Portfolio under the Forest Service R&D’s Fire Strategic Program Area.  Colin seeks to balance his indoor science management career with personal outdoor pursuits, including skiing, hockey, running, mountain biking, mountaineering, and summer water sports.

Satellite Methods and Technologies of Forest Fire Monitoring and its Consequences: Decade Results and Perspectives
Dr. Dmitry Ershov is deputy Director of Center for Forest Ecology and Productivity of Russian Academy of Sciences (CFEP RAS)
Dr. Eugeny A. Loupian is deputy Director of Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences (SRI RAS).
Dr. Sergey Bartalev is head of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Monitoring Laboratory at the Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences

ABSTRACT: Wildfire is one of the main disturbance factors in Russia, affecting on a specie-age wood composition, condition and dynamic of forest ecosystems. Annually in actively protected forests of Russia is registered from 10 to 30 thousand fires. But large fires amount to only 5% of the reported forest fires, which ones covered about 95% of all burned area (Isaev etc., 1995).

In Russia the special attention of forest scientists and ecologists was always paid to a fire. One of well known experts was George N. Korovin. In the 90th years of the XX century G. Korovin was a leader of development of satellite information system of forest fires monitoring. It was related with such two aspects, as decrease of forest fire protection level in Russia owing to economic difficulties and active development of methods and technologies of course resolution satellite monitoring (Abushenko et al 1998).

In the framework of international and Russian projects and programs the basis for new information system of remote monitoring of forest fires in interests of forestry was put (Bartalev et al 2002, Isaev at al 2002, Tansey et al 2004). Now the system is one of the largest operational forest fires monitoring systems. Daily during the fire season more than four thousand organizations use services of the system (Ershov et al 2004, Lupian et al 2007).

The system provides the complex data derived from ground, airborne and satellite observations, meteorological and thunderstorm measurements to monitor of active wildfires in the ecosystems of Russia, account of burned areas, estimate efficiency of fight with fires of regional forest protected services, determine burned severity and forest mortality, amount Carbon emissions from active fires, estimate the fire risk in different weather conditions and predict probability of fire ignition.
We continue to develop methods and algorithms of operational monitoring of forest fires for new Russian and foreign satellite systems, fire risk zone and fire regimes mapping, mathematical modeling of development of separate fire, an annual assessment of non-forested areas of old scars, mapping of scenarios of after fire vegetation successions for various forest vegetation conditions of Russia.

BIO: Dr. Dmitry Ershov is deputy Director of Center for Forest Ecology and Productivity of Russian Academy of Sciences (CFEP RAS). He was graduated in 1991 and past-graduated education in 1997 at Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography.  ). He received his PhD degree in remote sensing. Main science interests are related with satellite data analysis and GIS-methods applying for the forest cover and forest disturbances mapping.  He published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications in Russian and foreign journals.
Course resolution satellite disturbances, forest biomass and age structure and LAI product creation and individual-based forest model simulating of Carbon forest biomass are the main tasks of joint collaboration in the framework of current international projects. Dr. Ershov leads the direction of developing and implementation of GIS technology for forest fire risk and burns mapping in the Satellite Monitoring Information System of Russian Federal Agency of Forestry. Dmitry Ershov is a contributor of the GOFC-GOLD Fire Monitoring & Mapping Implementation Team.

BIO: Dr. Eugeny A. Loupian is deputy Director of Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences (SRI RAS). He was graduated in 1984 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (State University). He received his PhD degree in experimental physics and Doctor of Sciences degree in mathematic and computer software, systems and networks. He is author more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Dr. Loupian is leader several large national projects in the framework fundamental science program of Russian Academy of Sciences, application projects of Education and Science Ministry, Russian Space Agency, Agricultural Ministry. He leads projects for developing, supporting and implementations technologies in the Satellite Monitoring Information System of Russian Federal Agency of Forestry. Eugeny Loupian is a contributor of the GOFC-GOLD Fire Monitoring & Mapping Implementation Team.

BIO: Dr. Sergey Bartalev is head of the Terrestrial Ecosystems Monitoring Laboratory at the Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences. He is graduated from the Space Applications Faculty of the Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography. He received his PhD degree in remote sensing and Doctor of Sciences degree in experimental physics. His research interests is focused at development of highly automated methods for large area land cover mapping and monitoring using time-series of Earth observation data. He is author more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Sergey Bartalev is a member of the GOFC-GOLD Implementation Working Group.

Some Aspects of Extreme Fire Behaviour
Domingos Xavier Viegas, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Coimbra, Portugal

ABSTRACT: The concept of extreme forest fire behaviour is analyzed and defined as the set of forest fire spread characteristics and properties that preclude the possibility of controlling it safely using available present day technical resources and knowledge. Using some basic properties of fire behaviour, the following expressions or manifestations of extreme fire behaviour are analysed: (i) Conflagrations that are very large fires which spread in extreme weather conditions of low humidity and strong wind; (ii) Eruptive fires that occur usually in canyons or steep slopes and are characterized by a quick acceleration of the head fire rate of spread; (iii) Crown fires consisting on the transition and spread of surface to canopy fuel layer with very high rates of energy release; (iv) Spot fires produced by burning particles that are transported by the fire plume and wind flow and can produce new ignitions while landing at places that are difficult to predict; (v) Jump fires that are associated to the merging of fire fronts making a small angle between them producing very high rates of spread and with the potential to generate fire whirls and tornadoes and (vi) Vortex structures that can be generated by boundary conditions or discontinuities in the flow near the fire and can cause situations very difficult to control.  

BIO: Dr. Viegas is a full professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Coimbra, Portugal and leads a research group in the area of forest fires since 1985 having specialized in fire behaviour and fire safety. He is the director of the Forest Fire Research Laboratory in Lousã. He is the author of more than 10 books and 60 papers in peer reviewed international journals and the chairman of several scientific and training conferences and workshops.

Mapping the Risk Associated to Forest Fires
José L. Torero,PhD, School of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland, Australia

ABSTRACT: Urban planning, building design, emergency response resource deployment and insurance are all intimately linked to the establishment of a measure of “risk.” This approach has been used in infrastructure to design and maintain complex infrastructure such as nuclear power plants or simply to the justification of firehouses in suburbs. This is not a new approach when addressing forest fires, where the “risk” associated to forest fires has long been addressed by means of “risk” or “danger” maps. High “risk” areas result in high emergency response density, urban planning restrictions and high insurance premiums. Therefore the financial implications of these risk maps are very significant. Furthermore, poor quality risk maps can lead to poor management of an event, which can potentially result in disastrous consequences. Currently, “risk” maps are developed from a combination of historical (statistical) and physical variables.  Among the physical variables meteorology, topography and fuel type are the most commonly used. The statistical variables generally serve as a link between physical variables or a data supplement. For example, Rate of Spread (ROS) is a statistical variable that links topography, local weather conditions, fuel and moisture content to the potential flame spread velocity. The link is by means of statistical data collected prior to the event that then is incorporated into the “risk” map.  While the approach is potentially adequate, it requires a clear understanding of the path between the “current state” and the “ultimate state,” in other words, given a current state of conditions what is the probability distribution for each potential “ultimate state.” If the probability of a high consequence “ultimate state” is high then that particular location at that particular time is one of high risk. If the probability of a low consequence “ultimate state” is high then this is a low risk situation. This paper explores the different variables linking the “current state” to the “ultimate state” and reviews the potential means to quantify these variables. The paper also comments on the validity of statistical data for the purpose of “risk” maps identifying areas where quantified physical variables need to substitute statistical data.  

BIO: José L. Torero joined The University of Queensland in 2012 as Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of School.  a BSc from the Pontificia Universidad Catolice del Peru (1989) and a MSc (1991) and PhD (1992) from the University of California Berkeley. Prior to joining UQ, Professor Torero held the position of the Head of the Institute for Infrastructure and Environmental, the BRE Trust/RAEng Professor of Fire Safety Engineering and Director of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering. During his time in Switzerland, he was Landolt & Cia Chair in Innovation for a Sustainable Future at École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne. Additionally, Professor Torero was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland (USA) and Charge de Recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France). He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Building Research Establishment.














Stay Connected