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FRINATEK-Fri prosj.st. mat.,naturv.,tek

Prediction of ignition and spread of wildfires in Scandinavia: from experiments to models

Alternative title: Prediksjon av antennelse og spredning av skogbrann i Skandinavia: fra eksperiment til modell

Awarded: NOK 8.0 mill.

Global warming is giving rise to increasing temperatures, less rain, and longer periods with dry weather conditions. Such periods increase the risk of wildfires - large, destructive fires that spread quickly across woodland or brush. These fires now occur in regions where they were previously rare, such as Northern Europe, where both the frequency and the size of these events is expected to increase. To prepare for and reduce the risk of such wildfires, societal safety must be strengthened, for example by enhancing our ability to predict these disasters. PREWISS aims to contribute to the prediction of wildfires risk and spread by implementing new methods for detecting risk factors together with new models for fire spread. Fighting wildfires efficiently involves to understand them. Biophysical parameters such as flammability properties, moisture, wind, or slope of the terrain influence the ignition and propagation of wildfires. To achieve our goal, we will focus on the characterization of vegetation and the study of their behaviour during fires. We must assume that not all wildfires are possible to avoid, therefore we need to learn to predict their possible spread as precisely as possible when they occur. This would enable fire brigades to direct their efforts in the areas that pose the greatest danger of destruction. To this end, PREWISS will develop a model that, with geospatial data, can be used to predict this spread and help on designing prevention or real-time protection actions In summary, as a general research question, the present project aims to answer to the need to understand the phenomenon of wildfires much better. Our main objective is the development of a dynamic tool to predict the ignition and spread of wildfires under the specific conditions that can be encountered in Scandinavia. To this end, this project will create new knowledge that will help fighting the wildfire disasters we know are on their way, and prevent the havoc they bring in their wake

Global warming will give rise to increasing temperatures, less rain and longer periods with dry weather conditions. Such hot and dry periods will increase the risk of large wildfires in regions unfamiliar with these types of disasters, one such region is Northern Europe where both the number and the size of wildfires are expected to increase. To prepare for and reduce the risk of disastrous wildfires, societal safety must be further developed to predict these types of disasters. PREWISS aims to contribute to the prediction of wildfires risk and spread by implementing new methods for detecting risk factors together with new models for fire spread. The first step to fight wildfires is to understand them. Biophysical parameters as flammability properties of the vegetation, moisture, wind or slope of the terrain influence the ignition and propagation of wildfires. To achieve this goal, we will focus on the characterization of vegetation and the study of their fire behaviour. Nevertheless, we must assume that not all wildfires are possible to avoid, so we should therefore be able to predict the possible spread of wildfires when they occur. Fire brigades could then act directly in the more dangerous expected directions. To this end, PREWISS will develop a mathematical model that, coupled with geospatial data, can be used to predict this spread and help on designing prevention measurements or real-time protection actions. As a general research question, the present project aims to answer to the need of defining the conditions of ignition and fire spread of wildfires in Scandinavian vegetation. To this end, PREWISS follows a straight line that, going from small to big, leads into a practical tool that includes all this fundamental knowledge.

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FRINATEK-Fri prosj.st. mat.,naturv.,tek