Fire Scenarios

Learning from the past large wild fires to predict future ones

A fire scenario is a detailed description of a fire incident. Scenarios are particularly suited to examine conditions and events taken together and fire scenarios describe all essential elements of a fire incident. The components which make up the events and conditions of a fire scenario may include events such as ignition, fire spread, smoke production etc. The GRAF-DGPEIS team - General Direction of Fire Prevention, Extinction and Rescues of Catalonia, Spain – has worked on a system which studies past large wild fire cases so as to characterise main patterns of spread. The system provides recommendations to fire management based on fire types and/or applied in particular zones and describes large wild fire scenarios of some forest areas to anticipate fire behaviour.

Product's leader

Marc Castellnou, GRAF-DGPEIS
Marc CASTELLNOU
Fire analyst in Catalan Fire-Fighters Department
GRAF- DGPEIS, Spain

Who will be interested in this product and why?

The target groups are fire managers, forest managers and landscape managers.

What are the innovative features?

As concern to intensive wild land fires a fireman gathers 2 or 3 experiences in his life. If the meteorological situation is always the same and the details about the topography have not changed, the way of reproducing a forest fire is always the same and, we can learn from past fires by analysing them to predict future ones.

How does it serve the European cause with respect to the philosophy of Fire Paradox?

Fire scenarios are well documented studies about all the inputs involving a fire in a zone. Fire managers have the possibilities to describe the real situation, involving forest management options to translate a wild fire into a low intensity fire. These inputs can be useful for wild fires management as well as to suppress fire more easily.


Leader Contact

General objectives

The main objective of this system is to enable a better understanding of the behaviour of a given fire to anticipate fire behaviour:
- to achieve a catalogue of reconstructed large fires based on propagation patterns;
- to understand common propagation patterns in a particular zone, due to constant interaction between a fixed orography and common weather types;
- to anticipate large wildfire behaviour in a forest area, and also locate, agree and learn on the opportunities to fight it;
- to provide skills for analysing different indicators of fire behaviour;
- and to consider every past and new fires as an opportunity to learn from them.

It has three main functionalities:
- to anticipate fire behaviour;
- to transmit experience;
- and to pre-plan operations to manage really fast large fires.

Innovative aspects

The product will provide to fire professionals opportunities to:
- face “catastrophic fires” (highly intense, fast running, huge flames) in safe and pedagogical conditions;
- learn from past fires;
- pre-plan fire mitigation and operations;
- anticipate fire behaviour;
- adjust fire simulators and decision-making processes;
- and assess fire behaviour related to forest and landscape management.
A web-based visualisation, database, ARC-GIS is used for knowledge dissemination and for elaborating training modules

Major results

Since several months the GRAF-DGPEIS team has studied some of the largest past wild fires in the region of Catalonia. The results are:
- identification of areas where large fire scenarios shall be established;
- selection of studied cases of wildland fires;
- detailed description of selected wildland fires;
- study of a first set of the largest past fires;
- basic description of the types of the propagation patterns;
- study of a second set of largest past fires;
- recommendations for reconstructing perimeters of past fires;
- identification and description of large fire scenarios.

The edition, publication and dissemination of fire scenarios as well as the adjustments of fire simulators based on fire scenarios will be realised by January 2010.

Fire Scenarios Screenshot


Fire Scenarios
Fire Scenarios



Fire Scenarios



Fire Scenarios - http//www.fireparadox.org

Online Multimedia Plateform : Prototype