Prof. Domingos Viegas

2022 Ember Award
Dr. Viegas had a long and productive career in wildland fire science, with significant contributions to a range of subjects of global relevance including fire behaviour, fire danger, and fire-fighting safety. His contributions to wildland fire science and its application include:
  • fundamental and applied research;
  • teaching and mentoring [e.g. Professor at the University of Coimbra, Department of Mechanical Engineering, supervisor and co-supervisor of a significant number of Portuguese and international post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers on the topic of wildland fire research];
  • initiating and facilitating international scientific collaborations; and
  • instruction and technology transfer
His outstanding publication record includes more than 150 scientific articles that have contributed significantly to advances of wildland fire science in areas such as fire spread dynamics (e.g., triggers and occurrence of eruptive fire behaviour, fire propagation in complex topography, interactions between distinct flame fronts), spotting (e.g., firebrand transport and spot fire ignition), fire danger rating (he set the groundwork for the adoption of the Canadian FWI system across Europe), and fuel moisture (e.g., establishment of a continuous, multi-decadal fuel moisture monitoring network, linkages with remote sensing). His novel ideas and innovative publications are well known within the scientific and operational communities, but his contribution to the current standing of wildland fire science goes well beyond simple publication metrics. In 1990 he founded and became president of The Association for the Development of Industrial Aerodynamics (ADAI), an industrial aerodynamics research centre through which international wildland fire research is conducted. Domingos also created the Forest Fire Research Laboratory (CEIF), a unique resource in Europe and one of the best equipped in the World for the research on physical aspects of fire dynamics, and through association with local councils maintained a large field study site where field experiments are routinely conducted. Through the CEIF-ADAI research hub, many international students and researchers have been able to conduct fundamental investigations of fire processes, test detection and monitoring sensors, evaluate firefighting methods and develop fire protection systems. As a testament to this collaborative drive and the scientific footprint of his work, the Scopus database indicates he published with 216 different scientists from around the world. From the start of his involvement in wildland fire science, Domingos identified the need to bring together researchers from various backgrounds and continents. This led to the organization of the First International Conference of Forest Fire Research in 1990. This forum was seminal in igniting long-lasting partnerships in the wildland fire researcher community in Europe and the World and continues today on a four-year cycle (with the ninth occurring this week). Linked with this conference, Domingos organized the specialized short courses on fire behaviour that bring together a cadre of world-class scientists delivering the state-of-the-art knowledge on those areas to researchers and practitioners alike. Through a lessons-learned approach, he has investigated and documented countless wildland fire entrapment episodes that occurred in Portugal. He has written several books on specific entrapments to bring the lessons learned to the public. His expertise on the subject has led him to be invited to contribute to the official investigation of particularly severe entrapments in Portugal, Spain, Croatia and Israel. He also organized the International Short Course on Fire Safety series. In 2017, he received the IAWF Wildland Fire Safety Award for his significant contributions to wildland fire-fighter safety through wildland fire research. Dr. Viegas retired in 2020 from the University of Coimbra after almost 40 years as a professor. Since then, he has continued to actively contribute to advancing wildland fire science through coordination of international projects, publication of scientific results, mentoring early-career researchers as well as advising government agencies. He also continues to be actively engaged with fire and land management agencies to raise public and fire-fighting safety awareness. Dr Domingos Viegas is a leader in his field and possibly more importantly, a well-respected and admired role model for others in fire science, and richly deserving of the recognition of the IAWF Ember Award. His commitment to the advancement of wildland fire science excellence truly embodies the spirit of the Ember Award, represents true long-lasting and impactful advances in knowledge and practice. IAWF is proud to present him with this award.