Wildland Urban Interface Fires: Fire impact assessment using CFD tools

By Pau Costa Foundation on

Session: Fire Impact and Lessons Learned

Presenter: Elsa Pastor Ferrer (CERTEC, Center for Technological Risk Studies, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · Barcelonatech)

Contact email: elsa.pastor@upc.edu

The Center for Technological Risk Studies (CERTEC) is an organization whose objectives are research and education in the various fields of risk and safety. We develop educational, research and technology transfer programs, for the public and private sector, both at local and international level. CERTEC was created in 1992 by the Technical University of Catalonia. Regarding our activities focused on forest fires, we are mainly working on three topics: 1. Forest Fire Monitoring -  we develop infrared image processing systems to quantify fire development (rate of spread, fire intensity, flame geometry) and arial fire attack effectiveness; 2. Fire behavior prediction -  we develop systems to deliver fire behavior forecasts for decision making. Our approach is based on data assimilation and inverse modelling. 3. Fire impact modelling at the Wuildland-Urban Interface - we develop methodologies based on CFD modelling to study the effects of burning residential fuels on structures. We rely on performance-based criteria to assess houses vulnerability and sheltering capacity.

Link: https://certec.upc.edu

ABSTRACT: Our Wildland-Urban-Interface research line aims at reinforcing WUI fires risk reduction strategies by designing, testing and operating a virtual workbench service for the analysis of fire hazards and buildings vulnerabilities at different European WUI realities. We are developing a platform to perform essays and simulation studies dealing with structures survivability and sheltering capability. To set up our workbench, fire hazard of natural and artificial fuels will be characterized by real fire experiments and modelling. Special focus will be devoted to ornamental highly-flammable vegetation and gas infrastructures typically present at the WUI plot-scale. We will rely on a well-established fire protection engineering methodology (Performance-Based Design, PBD), which is based on cutting-edge fire simulations techniques, to get insights on the response to fire of typical building systems and materials. This project needs different expertise (i.e. forestry science, computer science, fire engineering and architecture) and will be based on both fire experiments and modelling. To achieve the objectives of the project, the cooperation between different actors is needed: fire risk practitioners, local administrations, fire agencies, regulatory bodies and residents. This represents a unique opportunity as well as a challenge, since the results of the project will only be meaningful if we are able to correctly picture the current WUI fire management gaps and needs.

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02-CERTEC logo - Elsa Pastor