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Sunday Workshops: February 9, 2014

The Sunday workshops have become a tradition at the IAFSS symposium with each workshop arranged by 3 world leaders.  Each workshop will include a panel of experts that will engage with the audience discussing and debating the pertinent issues in the topic.

Workshop Reports and Presentations

Wildfires and Climate Change

Multi-Objective Fire Safety System Design – Economy, Sustainability and Aesthetics


  • Information Coming Soon

Benchmarking / Data Sharing 

Evacuation Modeling – Issues and Challenges


Schedule and Summary

9.30 – 10.00    Workshop registration

10.00 – 12.00 Morning Workshops

12.00 – 13.00 lunch

13.00 – 15.00

 Wildfires and Climate Change

Panel: Naian Liu (USTC, China), Mark A. Finney (Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, USA), Samuel L. Manzello (NIST-EL, USA), Hiroshi Hayasaka (Hokkaido University, Japan), Dominique Morvan (Aix-Marseille University, France) and Albert Simeoni (University of Edinburgh, UK)


Research on wildfires covers different areas such as combustion physics and chemistry, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, forestry, ecology, geography, remote sensing and statistical mathematics. This workshop is an occasion to bring together researchers from many different fields that will attend the Conference. In wildfire research, most experimental and modelling efforts have addressed the quasi-steady surface fires with small or moderate burning intensities of fuels. However, extreme fire behaviors usually play essential roles in the acceleration of large wildfires, and spot fires and radiation ignition have been recognized to be the major fire spread modes in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fires. These processes involve significant interactions among heat transfer, fluid mechanics and combustion, leading to new challenges for wildfire researches. In wildfire modelling, numerical simulation is a growing area of research with models ranging from fully empirical to detailed CFD-based. However, the models still used in simulators by end-users (firefighters, foresters and scientists) are empirical or semi-empirical models derived some 40 years ago. In addition, in global scale, the wildfire trends under rapid climate change is an important topic for prediction of future wildfires, and the interactions between the fire and the atmosphere in various spatial and temporal scales remain to be explored.

The major goal of this workshop is to create an interactive discussion among experts from different domains and young researchers, in order to discuss the fundamental research needs for extreme fire behaviors and WUI fires, to clarify the needs in fire modelling, and to understand the effect of climate change on wildfire trends. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to share their viewpoints or thoughts on future research needs and knowledge gaps. A list of key action items essential for fire science community is expected to be summarized.

The discussions will be directed to focus on the following questions:

1)      What are the scope, significance and, above all, physical problems of extreme fire behaviors?

2)      What are the fundamental physical problems needed for WUI fires studies?

3)      Which models are best suited for field application and how to test and validate the models to ensure they are able to deliver reasonable predictions?

4)      What we can learn of the fire trends under effect of climate change from the recent wildfire incidents in boreal, temperate and tropical region? Recent wildfires in Alaska, California and Indonesia will be used for discussion.

Topics of this workshop:

1) Extreme fire behaviors in large forest fires

  Experts: Naian Liu AND or Mark A. Finney

2) WUI fire problems

Experts: Samuel L. Manzello

3) (Future) Fire trends under rapid climate change

  Experts: Hiroshi Hayasaka

4) Wildland fire modelling

  Expert: Albert Simeoni AND Dominique Morvan


Multi-Objective Fire Safety System Design

Panel: David Barber (Arup, Australia), Margaret Simonson MacNamee (SP, Sweden) and Brian Meacham (WPI, USA)


People use buildings every day, and want to do so comfortably in a building that is attractive and inviting. Sustainability has immediate and lasting impacts, and lifecycle design of a building should consider impacts on the environment while serving needs of the occupants. Fire is a rare event, but consequences can be considerable if not properly mitigated, and in some cases, mitigation may be contrary to openness, sustainability and other such objectives. This set of widely varied and sometimes competing objectives raises several questions for building fire safety design.

  • Do we need a comprehensive, holistic and integrated ‘building performance model’ for building performance analysis and design across multiple objectives?
  • If so, which discipline should take the lead, how do we identify and engage the ‘right’ stakeholders to address the breadth of needs, and what must be done to develop and implement such a model?
  • Are all societal objectives of equal weight, and if not, how should they be weighted?
  • How far should we be going in trying to ‘assure’ safe buildings, given the low frequency of fires, relative to the daily use and sustainability impact objectives of buildings?
  • Would we approach future building fire safety analysis and design differently than we do today if we have a holistic, risk-informed and performance-based approach?
  • What is an appropriate role for benefit-cost analysis, and how do we measure associated benefits and costs?


These and related issues will be discussed and debated in this workshop. To open discussion, perspectives will be provided by leaders in fire science and engineering, building design and economic impact of good building design on society, focusing on how they think appropriate balance between sustainability, aesthetics, safety and economy might be achieved.  Participants will then break out into groups to develop action items needed to move us towards a more holistic, multi-objective analysis and design framework, and the role the fire science and engineering community can play in the process. We will then come together and produce a list of key action items to be addressed within our community.

Draft Schedule:



Welcome and introduction




Good building design means good looking, well-functioning and sustainable buildings (discuss identifying and balancing user objectives as stated for designers, e.g. sustainable rating systems)


Fire safety and sustainability (discussion of fire safety objectives, fire challenges with sustainable materials and how good fire safety delivers sustainability)


Buildings are not risk-free – balancing sustainability with fire and health effects (discussion of fire retardant toxicity issues, health issues, risks and controls, environmental impact assessment tools: LCA/LCC/CBA)


Group discussions

Discussion and recommendations on four topic areas (economics/cost, good-looking/well-performing buildings, fire safety is sustainable, risk-cost-benefit of fire retardants and fire safety, all in the context of balancing fire safety with other objectives)


Break-out groups report


Key outcomes & summary comments


Panel: Patrick van Hees (Lund University, Sweden), Jose Torero (University of Queensland, Australia) and Kathy Notarianni (WPI, USA)


Fire safety education is today performed both at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level (BSc, MSc and PhD).  Different programmes exist all over the whole world with different success. The goal of the workshop is to obtain feedback and input for a position paper on education in fire safety through a discussion forum. The outcome of the workshop will be a first layout for such a paper.  Discussion topics for all three types of education will be:

  • Stakeholders in the different regions
  • Typical challenges.
  • What is lacking in today’s curriculum for each level of education
  • Market situation
  • Funding schemes
  • Priorities during the next decade.


The agenda for the workshop is:

  • Introduction and goal of the workshop (10 min)
  • Discussion forum in three groups (BSc, MSc and PhD education). Each discussion forum will be led by one of the three panel members After 30 minutes the participants move to the next group (3×30 minutes)
  • Summary of each education level by each of the panel members (3×5 minutes)
  • Concluding remarks and follow up initiatives (5 minutes)


The outcome of the workshop will be put on the IAFSS website under the educational committee. The educational committee of IAFSS will then further work with the paper in cooperation with the panel members, participants and IAFSS members.

Benchmarking / data sharing

Panel: Michael Spearpoint (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Assaad Masri (University of Sydney, Australia), Anthony Hamins (NIST, USA), Sergey Dorofeev (FM Global, USA), Kevin McGrattan (NIST, USA), Ed Galea (University of Greenwich, UK)

Report: Benchmarking workshop report (PDF)


A long term goal of fire safety scientists is to generate reliable numerical tools that enable engineers to design fire-safe systems. A key pre-requisite for achieving this objective is to build a basic understanding of key processes and to generate sub-models that form building blocks for numerical these tools. Well-thought-out experiments that address relevant aspects of fires need to be developed; and extensive data collected for these experiments to form benchmarks for model benchmarking and future developments. With a focus on these data sets, modellers and experimentalists must be brought together to enhance the models and move the boundaries of science to the next stage of development.

The Workshop aims to (i) survey existing experiments and data sets related to fires, (ii) decide on potential research sub-topics and experiments which could form the focus of future workshops, and (iii) plan for the development of comprehensive data sets and numerical approaches that could best address these topics.

Draft Schedule:




Dieter Brein (chair of ISO 16730) – “Verification and validation procedures for calculation methods in FSE. Assessment of strengths, weaknesses and limitations. Status and outlook to future needs and activities”


What experiments do modelers currently use for benchmarking?

  • Sergey Dorofeev, FM – “Approach and experiments used for FireFOAM development and validation”
  • Ed Galea, University of Greenwich – SmartFire
  • Kevin McGrattan, NIST – FDS


Discussion – What are strengths and weaknesses of the experiments currently used by modellers? What experiments are also available that might be useful for benchmarking. What should future experiments look like in terms of what they need to achieve, what they need to record etc.


Future plans


Evacuation Modeling – Issues and Challenges

Panel: Arturo Cuesta (University of Cantabria, Spain), Rita Fahy (NFPA, USA), Ed Galea (University of Greenwich, UK), Daniel Nilsson (Lund University, Sweden), Weiguo Song (USTC, China).


Evacuation in fire emergencies is a complex procedure and a wide range of tools are available to provide estimates of various evacuation parameters, from simple hand calculations to sophisticated computer simulation models. The uncertainties in evacuation data must be dealt with by both model developers and model users. There exists a demand to expand the use of models to the simulation of complicated evacuations, such as those involving rescuers.

The workshop will include short presentations on several broad themes, which will then be thoroughly discussed and debated by the attendees and the panel.  The themes include:

•       How do we build and validate evacuation models, as they include increasingly complex behaviors and choices?

•       How and when should a model be used?

•       How do we deal with uncertainty in data?

•       What should be the focus of future model development, and what are the challenges?



For more information on Sunday Workshops please contact Prof. Bart Merci, e-mail: [email protected]