Second International Conference on Modelling, Monitoring and Management of Forest Fires
23 - 25 June 2010
The Second International Conference on Modelling, Monitoring and Management of Forest Fires (Forest Fires 2010) was recently held on the island of Kos (Greece), co-organised by Professor Giovanni Perona of the Politecnico di Torino, Italy, and Professor Carlos A Brebbia of the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT), UK.
Forest fire scenarios are impacted by climate trends as well as by anthropogenic pressures. Future trends, particularly in the Mediterranean region, will lead to an increasing impact of human pressure in the natural environment, due to growth in tourism and the number of residential areas.
It is essential to increase our knowledge of forest fire occurrence probability to better organise prevention and fighting activities.
Although in the majority of cases fire onsets are due to negligence or arson, the meteorological conditions are extremely important in determining fire risk. It is important to use high resolution weather forecasts in conjunction with a detailed description of the configuration. High resolution meteorological forecasts are essential to predict fire propagation behaviour, which can be applied to contain the fire itself.
All over the world uncontrollable forest fires contribute to global warming, air pollution, desertification and loss of biodiversity. While in many cases forest fires originate from legitimate vital economic intents, careless use of fire in agriculture and pasture lands or for land clearing is causing extended and unintentional damage.
Professor Carlos Brebbia opened the conference by explaining the work at the Wessex Institute of Technology, an institution dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge amongst academia, industry and government organisations. The work of WIT encompasses from PhD teaching to industrial support, the latter using its own computational tools.
WIT – Professor Brebbia said - stresses the need to disseminate information throughout the world, not only through its series of conferences, but also through the publications produced in digital as well as paper format by WIT Press. These publications include conference books, state-of-the-art research and Journals.
Professor Brebbia concluded by thanking the delegates for having come to Kos for the conference and in particular the authors whose contributions make the meeting a success.
Keynote Address by Professor Giovanni Perona
Next, Professor Brebbia introduced his co-chairman, Professor Giovanni Perona of the Politecnico di Torino who gave a keynote address discussing issues as troubling as climate change and the way that the growth of the internet contributes to the continued increase of available information.
Professor Perona’s keynote address was entitled ‘Natural Agents multiscale (in time and space) forecasting and monitoring in the user-generated content era’. He discussed the implications of climate change and the role of CO2 and how temperature has varied during historic periods, when temperatures were higher than those recorded in modern times.
The significance of temperature in climate change is not at all clear. Can climatic extremes be taken as fingerprints of climate change? Professor Perona discussed this important question and a clear definition of what is an extreme, and where and how they are selected.
From the statistical point of view, the process is studied as stationary while any ‘trends’ can not be stationary, as in the case of changing climate. There are no mathematical tools to deal with these processes.
Professor Perona discussed these and other important questions which were debated by the participants during the discussion period.
The papers presented at the conference covered a series of topics;
- Air quality and health risk models
- Resources optimization
- Computational methods and experiments
- Detection, monitoring and response systems
- Risk and vulnerability assessment
- Decision support systems
A series of invited lectures contributed to enhance the programme;
‘Numerical modelling of 2003 summer forest fire impacts on air quality over Portugal’
by A.I. Miranda, University of Aveiro, Portugal
‘Correlation analysis and fuel moisture estimation based on FMA and FMA+ fire danger indices in a Pinus elliottii plantation in southern Brazil’
by Ronaldo V Soares, Federal University of Parana, Brazil
‘A volatile organic compounds flammability approach for accelerating forest fires’
by L Courty, PRISME Institute, France
‘SIRIO high performance decision support system for wildfire fighting in alpine regions: an integrated system for risk forecasting and monitoring’
by Lorenzo Corgnati, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Conference Dinnner and Excursions
The conference dinner took place in a typical Greek fish taverna by the seaside and the dishes were accompanied by excellent local wines. There was some Greek dancing and a taste of the powerful local grappa. The event was very friendly and conducive to the delegates getting to know each other better in a relaxed atmosphere.
A further social event took place towards the end of the conference. It consisted of a guided tour of the Asklepion, the renowned archaeological site of the original hospital set up by Hippocrates in 420BC. This is the site where the foundations of modern medicine were laid and the famous Hippocratic oath originated. After an excellent guided tour of the Asklepion, the delegates stopped at a winery for a wine tasting. They were able to sample the excellent local wines.
The last part of the excursion was to a boat trip to a private island where a barbeque was offered and where the delegates could also have a chance of swimming in the clear sea waters.
The day was most enjoyable and the participants were happy to have had the opportunity to interact with each other in a relaxing atmosphere.
Publication of Papers
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online in the WIT eLibrary as Volume 137 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1743-3509). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com