Forest fire spreading is sometimes speeded up by the "spot fire" phenomenon : burning particles transported by the convection column, can be at the origin of secondary fires, several hundreds meters beyond the main fire front.
This phenomenon has not been studied a lot in the past, especially in the spreading models, which are existing throughout the world, and which are presently under study in Europe. It has however severe repercussions on forest fire prevention and control strategy.
The objective of Saltus research project is thus to fill this gap, through analyzing, in the five Southern countries of European Union, this complexe phenomenon, which brings out numerous physical, biological, and atmospheric parameters.
To do so, two complementary approaches are proposed :
- the first one consists in developing a probabilistic model, based on a statistical study of a representative sample of 500 recent fires. This model will lead to a typology of situations favouring spot fires, and to an assessment of their quantitative importance.
- the second approach is based on an thorought analysis of the physical phenomena at stake. It will include theoretical studies, resorting to digital simulation, and a range of experiments, in the laboratory and through prescribed burning. The experiments will focus on particles emission and transport, and on the triggering of secondary fires. Digital simulation will only be used for particles transport.
The probabilistic model will be validated on an additional sample of fires, while the physical model will be directly validated from data collected on wild fires during their progression.
The objective of Saltus is then double :
- to imprcve the knowledge on spot fires, in order to integrate this phenomenon in decison-making at the level of forest fire prevention and regional planning.
- to develop pre-operationnal tools for spot fire simulation, meant to firefighters, fire managers and the different people or bodies in charge of this issue.
That is the reason why, during the three years of the programme, and within the five mediterranean countries, the Saltus partners will work in collaboration with a panel of users, which will follow and guide their research.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
13090 Aix En Provence
73100 Hania - Crete
5000-911 Vila Real