Back to search

BRANNSIKKERHET-Forsknings- og innovasjonssentre for brannsikkerhet

Reducing fire disaster risk through dynamic risk assessment and management (DYNAMIC)

Alternative title: Redusere risiko for brannkatastrofer gjennom dynamisk risikomodellering og risikostyring (DYNAMIC)

Awarded: NOK 8.5 mill.

A focus area in the research project DYNAMIC is to reduce the fire risk in areas where human constructions and the countryside meet, the so-called Wildland-Urban Interface. Effective and long-term risk reduction involves reducing biomass. Especially those plants that burn intensely and therefore spread fire easily to other plants / trees and wooden houses are dangerous neighbours. One such plant in Western Norway is the juniper. A row of junipers was largely responsible for the loss of a house and a fire engine in the Sotra fire in 2021. (https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19053038). The effect of grazing with goats on the reduction of flammable juniper in a site close to housing estates (villas) was a central activity in the DYNAMIC project this year. In the spring of 2022, twelve virtually fenced goats were tested for eight weeks for the reduction of flammable juniper alongside the settlement. - Did the 12 goats eat what they were supposed to eat, or did they devour the neighbours' garden plants? - Were the four-legged guests perceived as friends - or non-friends? - Are they welcome back again? Goats are goats, and experts at pushing boundaries, but they became very popular. They contributed with "life in the forest" and removed a good amount of flammable juniper (in about 40% of the juniper bushes the goats removed more than 90% of the needles, in the next 30% they removed about half, while the last third they probably saved to the next grazing project). Residents, visitors, kindergarten groups and school classes came to greet them. All the goats gained weight, with minimal additional feeding (used only to handle changing the battery in the collar). The Nofence collars communicate with the satellite through an App that told the researchers the animal's position and the battery level. The collar gives the animal a warning sound that lasts for eight seconds when the animal approaches the boundaries. If the animal ignores the sound, a small electric shock is delivered. Despite isolated mishaps with a lost collar (and thus a lack of a virtual boundary) or deliberate boundary approaches (some of the goats had up to 90 warnings in a day, and only one bump), if something outside the permitted area seemed enticing, the goats became very popular. After the rental period was over, many of the villa owners expressed that they missed the goats. All interviewees wanted, if possible, the goats back for another round of grazing. And the scientists, yes, they also missed the goats. People grew fond of these four-legged little mobs, and the forest became somewhat empty after they had left. So yes, virtually fenced goats can help reduce flammable biomass in the fringe zone of the settlement. So maybe we should start thinking about sustainability? Use flammable biomass for cheap firewood and meat production rather than the biomass representing an increasing fire hazard? https://www.brennaktuelt.no/beite-biomasse-brann/virtuelt-inngjerdede-geiter-for-reduksjon-av-brannfarlig-biomasse-i-randsonen/114973 NRK-Rogaland TV and Haugesund Avis (newspaper) also picked up and reported the project. https://tv.nrk.no/serie/distriktsnyheter-rogaland/202205/DKRO98051922/avspiller#t=9m9s www.h-avis.no/5-62-1333303. The research is also documented in a scientific article (https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5060188). Recently (18/11) the project was also mentioned by Swedish utkiken.net, with the title «Getter istället för naturvårdsbränning nära bebyggelse, Norge – 2022», https://www.utkiken.net/skogsbrand/50916-skogsbrand-i-wui-wildland-urban-interface/page2#post74861. Our collaborators at Ohio State University published a paper evaluating how well existing fire spread models can predict real fire spread in Northern Europe's (well-managed) heathlands. The models were compared with controlled burning in 27 locations delimited to 15 x 15, or 20 x 20 m2. The results in the research article: https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5020046 In the book "Global Application of Prescribed Fire" (CSIRO & CRC Press, 2022), our collaborators have contributed the chapter "Fire management in heather-dominated heaths and moorlands in North-West Europe". https://www.routledge.com/Global-Application-of-Prescribed-Fire/Weir-Scasta/p/book/9781032137179 Future activities are to develop models that capture the conditions in overgrown heathlands and come up with clearer criteria for the fire service about when they should or should not allow prescribed burning (to reduce the risk of the burning session getting out of control). Another important activity was the development of the Mobile App for notifying the fire service of flammable conditions, based on the mathematical model that was developed for dry wooden houses and tested in 72 locations in Norway in 2021. An initial round of testing was carried out in spring 2022, by three students in their Bachelor Thesis. The app needs some modification before the B version is to be tested in 2023.

DYNAMIC is an interdisciplinary project focusing on fire disaster prevention, e.g. the 2014 Lærdalsøyri and Flatanger fires. Changes in climate, land-use, buildings, infrastructure and demography are increasing the fire risk in previously low-risk areas in Norway. DYNAMIC will map and model the abiotic, biotic, and human drivers of these changes in fire risk, develop risk forecasting strategies, and contribute to identify effective short and long term risk reducing measures. Two interconnected innovative aspects of DYNAMIC are (i) our radical cross-disciplinary expertise, as we are the first project, to our knowledge, integrating expertise form fire science, contingency management, computer science, meteorology, risk management, health, cultural landscape management, farming, and ecosystem science, and (ii) our cross-sectorial approach where the scientists collaborate closely throughout the project period with fire brigades, farming communities, and civic habitat management interest groups. DYNAMIC shall identify and monitor significant risk contributing factors, develop forecasting systems for high risk conditions and warn the emergency systems and the public when appropriate regarding single structure fire risk, conflagration risk and Calluna (No: røsslyng) dominated WUI fire risk. DYNAMIC shall support recent civic efforts in coastal Norway to reduce accumulated degenerated fire prone Calluna, intruded by very flammable junipers, and support and optimize innovative prescribed burning and fire control methods. Camp fires as ignition source will be addressed. Proactive emergency responses based on forecasted risk, and computer based training programs, will be developed, assessed and optimized. To reduce the likelihood of massive loss of lives, e.g. Greece and California 2018, warning systems aimed at supporting individuals at risk will be developed and tested. DYNAMIC will participate in the new IAFSS "Large Outdoor Fires & the Built Environment" Work Group.

Publications from Cristin

Funding scheme:

BRANNSIKKERHET-Forsknings- og innovasjonssentre for brannsikkerhet