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Introducing a Fire Danger Rating System for South Africa LWR 314.

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Presentation on theme: "Introducing a Fire Danger Rating System for South Africa LWR 314."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introducing a Fire Danger Rating System for South Africa LWR 314

2 Fire (for those who didn’t know): Considered one of the major elements in the universe according to the ancient Greeks. It's a visible, tangible side effect of matter changing form. Comes from a chemical reaction between oxygen in the atmosphere and some sort of fuel. Fuel must reach its ignition temperature though.

3 The Fire Triangle

4 Factors affecting Fire Behaviour Fuel- Fineness - Structure of the fuel bed (height, compactness & continuity) - Amount (fuel load) - Moisture content - Type of vegetation Terrain- Slope & Aspect Weather- Rainfall - Air Temperature - Relative Humidity - Wind Speed

5 Fires interact with their environment The chemical reactions in a fire generate a lot of new heat which sustains the fire. Wild fires are capable of generating their own wind, fanning their own flames.

6 Effects of Fire Positive Impacts - Release minerals into soil - Prepare seedbeds for germination - Triggers seed release in some plant species - Help determine community structure & composition Negative Impacts - Impact on ecosystems (loss of vegetation, impact on wildlife, accelerated erosion etc.) - Air quality (health, visibility) - Aesthetically unpleasing - Economic losses

7 Fires in the Free State: 2003 Up to the middle of October ha or 1.68% of the province had been destroyed. Cattle burnt: 87 Sheep burnt: 315 Game burnt: 215 Horses: 11 People burnt: 6 Lives lost: 5 Houses destroyed: 42

8 What is required from a Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS)? The capacity to continuously monitor the conditions that would affect fire danger. The ability to delimit the regions that would be affected by high fire danger conditions. The ability to take relevant factors into account, using appropriate formulae. The ability to identify high fire danger. The ability to communicate the FDR and necessary precautions effectively.

9 Municipalities classified by veldfire risk

10 Components of a National FDRS

11 Recommended cut-off levels for the FDRS Based on the statistical distribution: ≥ 99 percentile: Extremely High ≥ 95 percentile: Very High ≥ 90 percentile: High ≥ 75 percentile: Moderate < 75 percentile: Low

12 Lowveld FDI - Nomogram FDI = (BI + WF) × RCF

13 Lowveld FDI - Categories 0 – 20: BLUE (Safe) 21 – 45: GREEN (Moderate) 46 – 60: YELLOW (Dangerous) 61 – 75: ORANGE (Very Dangerous) 76 – 100: RED (Extremely Dangerous)

14 INDICATIVE COLOUR BLUEGREENYELLOWORANGERED DANGER RATING InsignificantLowModerateHighHigh - extreme FIREBEHAVIOURFIREBEHAVIOUR Fires are not likely to ignite. If they do, they are likely to go out without suppression action. There is little flaming combustion. Flame lengths in grassland and plantation forest litter lower than 0.5 m and rates of forward spread less than 0.15 kilometres per hour. Fires likely to ignite readily but spread slowly. Flame lengths in grassland and plantation forest litter lower than 1.0 m and rates of forward spread less than 0.3 kilometres per hour. Fires ignite readily and spread rapidly, burning in the surface layers below trees. Flame lengths in grasslands and plantation forests between 1 and 2m, and rates of forward spread between 0.3 and 1.5 kilometres per hour. Fires ignited readily and spread very rapidly, with local crowning and short- range spotting. Flame lengths between 2 and 5 m, and rates of forward spread between 1.5 and 2.0 kilometres per hour. Conflagrations are likely in plantation forests, stands of alien invasive trees and shrubs, sugar cane plantations, and fynbos. Long range fire spotting is likely in these fuel types. Rates of forward spread of head fires can exceed 4.0 kilometres per hour and flame lengths will be in the order of 5 – 15 m or more.

15 INDICATIVE COLOUR BLUEGREENYELLOWORANGERED DANGER RATING InsignificantLowModerateHighHigh - extreme FIRE SUPPRESSION DIFFICULTY Direct attack feasible: one or a few field crew with basic fire fighting tools easily suppresses any fire that may occur. Direct attack feasible: fires safely approached on foot. Suppression is readily achieved by direct manual attack methods. Direct attack constrained: fires not safe to approach on foot for more than very short periods. Best forms of control should combine water tankers and back burning from fire control lines. Direct attack not feasible: fires cannot be approached at all and back burning, combined with aerial support are the only effective means to combat fires. Equipment such as water tankers should concentrate efforts on the protection of houses. Any form of fire control is likely to be precluded until the weather changes. Back burning dangerous and best avoided.

16 Thank You All photos courtesy of CSIRO website (http://www.ffp.csiro.au)


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