Conference Review: Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference

The 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference, an conference of the International Association of Wildland Fires (IAWF), was co-organized by Tomsk State University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the IAFSS.

This edition was quite peculiar as in order to extend its international outreach and create more opportunities around fire research, a second edition was held in St Petersburg, Russia on 1-4 July 2013, in addition to the US edition held in Raleigh on 18-22 February 2013. The US edition has been mentioned earlier in the previous issue of this newsletter (No. 35), so let us focus on the Russian edition and on the awards.

4th Fire Behavior and Fuels ConferenceThe Russian edition was a success, with around 150 attendees from all around the world with a large contingent of our colleagues from Russia, 7 keynote presentations, including Prof. Jose Torero for IAFSS, plus 75 oral presentations and over 40 posters representing the last research developments in fire behavior and fuels (see the program at The three days of parallel sessions were preceded by a day with 5 workshops to present new applications developed in research and now available to end-users. Among those, a half-day workshop was organized by International Journal of Wildland Fires, the official journal of IAWF, to train non-native speakers to publish in scientific journals in English.

In addition to the technical part, a boat trip was organized along the Neva river. The excellent weather and the period of the year, the famous white nights, made it a memorable evening for all the participants (nothing related to the free pizza, beer and wine). The conference dinner was held in a nice restaurant on a beach along the Baltic Sea. The traditional Russian band set the tone of a decadent dinner (food but also many toasts and some dancing too) that the participants will remember for a long time. The sunset on the Gulf of Finland was also pretty amazing. Finally, a field trip was offered to the participants at the end of the conference in a nearby forest that was damaged by a recent wildfire. It was funny to see all the ecologists amazed by little plants and fungi, and all the fire scientists walking carelessly around and only looking at the destruction caused by the fire.

IAFSS, as co-organizer of the conference sponsored several awards for the two editions that included $500 prizes. The awarded papers are the following.


  • Best paper.  “First Look at Smoke Emissions from Prescribed Burns in Long-unburned Longleaf Pine Forests” by Timothy Johnson, Sheryl Akagi, Robert Yokelson, Ian Burling, David Weise, James Reardon and Shawn Urbanski.
  • Best applied paper: “Fire behaviour prediction tools for fire managers – lessons learned from tools development in New Zealand” by H. Grant Perce and Veronica R. Clifford.
  • Best student paper: “Observations of fire behavior on a grass slope during a wind reversal” by Diane Hall, Allison Charland, Craig Clements, Daisuke Seto, Jon Contezac and Braniff Davis.

St. Petersburg:

  • Best paper: “Mathematical Modeling of Crown Forest Fires with Fire breaks” by Valeriy Perminov.
  • Best student paper: “Relating Vertical Wind Profiles to Vegetation Structure for Fire Behaviour Prediction” by Kangmin Moon, Thomas Duff and Kevin Tolhurst.
  • Best applied paper: “Multi-scale Simulation of a Very Large Fire Incident. Computation from the Combustion to the Atmospheric Meso-Scale” by Jean-Baptiste Filippi, Celine Mari C. and Frédéric Bosseur.

Two special issues are in preparation for the International Journal of Wildland Fire and the Fire Safety Journal that will present a selection of the best contributions presented during the US and Russian editions.

Signed: Albert Simeoni, University of Edinburgh

Read more conference reviews in the latest edition of Fire Safety Science News, #36