Dr. Alexander Filkov

Early Career in Fire Science
Early Career Award in Fire Science
Dr. Alexander Filkov’s research program and expertise in fire behavior is recognized at a national and international level. His work covers a broad range of fire behaviour topics including research on the ignition and combustion of fuels, the spread of wildfire and transition mechanisms to the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), and the performance of structural materials under different fire conditions. Dr. Filkov’s publications have made a significant contribution to the following areas of fire behaviour: deterministic-probabilistic modelling, thermal behaviour of fuel, firebrand generation and spotting mechanisms, dynamic fire behaviours and fire performance of materials. His international reputation and broad network of peers have allowed Dr Filkov to organise and participate in several large field experiments on forest and grass fires in Russia, the USA, and Australia. His early research at Tomsk State University in Russia was focused on the development of a new deterministic and probabilistic model to predict forest, grass and peat fire hazards. This research is important and unique, presenting for the first time an accurate set of physical and mathematical models for predicting forest and steppe fire hazard. Dr Filkov’s research also focused on the field and laboratory study of forest and grass fires and their impact on wooden structures. These results improved our understanding of wildfire transition into WUI areas and fire performance of structural materials. Dr. Filkov’s collaborations with the laboratory of the National Center of Scientific Research in France has resulted in some major findings in understanding thermal properties and smoldering of peat. Conclusive evidence that neither scale or peat origin has a strong effect on the kinetics of the drying process was found. The study represents a major contribution to this area and is an important step for predicting and modelling peat fires. Dr. Filkov has also collaborated with Worcester Polytechnic University (USA) and the University of Edinburg (UK) to conduct a series of pioneering experiments studying firebrand production and spotting mechanisms in wildfires. Several new methods were tested to describe the generation of firebrands at the experimental sites. The experiments provided unique quantitative data of firebrand distribution from wildfires. These experiments contributed to the development of new software for detecting the location of flying particles, and providing an estimate of the number and flux of firebrands generated by wildfire. Dr Filkov also studied the probability of fuel bed ignition by firebrands in laboratory experiments, resulting in the development of a mathematical model for the transport of firebrands from the combustion zone. This contributed to a better understanding of the generation, transportation and ignition potential of firebrands during prescribed and wildfires. Since Dr. Filkov’s arrival in Australia in 2016, his work has focused on understanding the mechanisms that drive dynamic behaviour in wildland and structural fires. He proposed a new scientific definition of dynamic fire behaviour (DFB) and a list of all known DFBs. This work provides unique quantitative data about DFBs and their classification, providing significant advances to our understanding of their importance in fire modelling. Dr Filkov’s major findings and results include: testing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technologies for measuring fire behavior in the field and potential application for fire management; the development of a novel system for a better representation of the dynamic heat fluxes of real fires under a laboratory conditions; proposal of a new method for testing fire performance of structural materials at small scales; and understanding flammability thresholds in Australian forests. Dr. Filkov serves as a Guest Editor of a Special Issue entitled “Experimentation and Physics-Based Modelling to Support Prescribed Burning” (journal Fire). He is also a reviewer for a number of journals including the International Journal of Wildland Fire, Fire Safety Journal, Fire Technology, Fire, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute, Combustion, Fuels, Energy and Fuels, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, and Combustion Science and Technology. Dr Filkov has also mentored numerous graduate students, demonstrating his commitment to future generations of wildland fire researchers. He is currently co-supervising two PhD students at the University of Melbourne and Victoria University. Dr. Filkov is extremely passionate about wildland fire research and has demonstrated his commitment to the field. He has strong growth potential and he will continue to contribute greatly to the wildland fire community and to wildland fire science.