Forest fire risk assessment method supporting the organisation of fire fighting operations – Ryszard Szczygieł

Ryszard Szczygieł. Instytut Badawczy Leśnictwa, Sękocin Stary 2009, ISBN 973-83-87647-77-3, 128 pp. Price 33 EUR.

Abstract. As a result of project execution, a comprehensive method of assessing forest fire risk combined with a forecast of fire spread has been developed. It can be used to support the National Firefighting and Rescue System and Forest Service.

The method was developed on the basis of field research on the impact of weather conditions on forest fire outbreak and moisture content of pine litter (Pinus sylvestris L.). As a result of the research the following factors have been found applicable in assessing forest fire risk: air temperature, air relative humidity, cloudiness, atmospheric precipitation and moisture content of litter, the latest being a decisive factor of forest fire risk. A regression model of variation in the moisture content of litter depending on the examined weather parameters was created. The model enables forecasting litter moisture content on the current day and the in morning the next day; it was applied in the developed method also taking into consideration forecasted weather parameters. The method of assessing the risk of forest fires also takes into account a forest fire spread forecast. Depending on the degree of fire risk (using a 4-degree scale), procedures were developed for the State Forest Administration and State Fire Service units to be followed during organizational, preventive and operational actions undertaken in the case of a forest fire outbreak. A computer software was developed to make the method easier in use. After testing, the software was implemented in the Regional Directorate of State Forests and the Municipal Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Zielona Góra.

The assessment of the accuracy of the method of assessing forest fire risk in comparison to the method currently used prove positive. The use of the newly developed method enables rationalization of the operations of forest and rescue services through the dispatch of resources adequate for the existing fire hazard and spread risk, as well as the reduction of forest fire protection costs, as shown in an economic analysis of the method.

Key words: forest fire, weather conditions, modelling of moisture content of combustion material, forecasting forest fire risk, support of firefighting operations

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