German pilot site

Fire science of wildfires and safety measures


A direct consequence of climate change are longer drier periods of drought, even in countries that traditionally had a lot of rain. In Germany, about 32 % of the surface area is covered by forests. The dryness monitor shows that the regions of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg are some of the driest parts of Germany a have been particularly affected by fires, with an increase in the number, severity and area over the past 5 years.  Most fires in both provinces have been ground fires which are dependent on dryness and dead organic material. It is essential to understand the mechanisms of vegetation-specific fire behaviour and smoke production in order to develop effective firefighting measures.  To achieve this, experiments on a medium and large scale are undertaken using ground specimens up to several square meters, to evaluate the dependence of the fire spread on various kinds of vegetation as well as different amounts of organic mass in the ground and dryness. Better understanding of fire and smoke development mechanisms allows for more precise prediction of fire and smoke development which is crucial for assessing and improving firefighting tactics. Smoke production of these fires is a health risk for firefighters as well as for inhabitants of villages close to forest areas. Extinguishment methods need to be water-saving, eco-friendly and efficient. Each fire scenario has different challenges and wildfires can happen in industrial areas as is the case in many areas of Brandenburg. This presents a great danger of pollutants being introduced into the environment together with the water-based extinguish agents, therefore optimal use and delivery of extinguishing liquids, other extinguishing agents and firefighting methods is of high importance.

  • Experimental and numerical investigation of fire and smoke spread mechanisms in-ground wildfires.
  • Guidance and health risk warning plan for evacuation of villages regarding smoke gases and smoke gas toxicity.
  • Construction of machine learning methods for predicting fire and smoke spread and construction of a situation-aware risk model.
  • Development of scenario-based firefighting measures using Prediction of fire and smoke production as the basis for effective firefighting measures. 
  • Examine the environmental impact from the use of different extinguishing agents in different scenarios.
  • Reduce the environmental impact by using eco-friendly innovative firefighting foam formulations in combination with extinguishing granulate. 
  • Optimize foam transport and discharge of eco-friendly firefighting foams and extinguishment granulate with regard to use in firewalls.
  • Reduction in fire extinguishing time due to better prediction of fire and smoke propagation 
  • Reduction in the number of victims through scenario prediction and response optimisation.
  • Reduction of environmental impact by using innovative fire extinguishing agents as well as strategies that optimize their use. 
  • Decrease in the number of forest fires and their severity, through a better understanding of ground fire propagation.

Are you interested to learn more about the TREEADS pilot implementations in Germany?
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Dr. Anja Hofmann Böllinghaus

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