Portugal: GESTOSA 2000 – Experimental Fires in Shrub Vegetation in Central Portugal (IFFN No.23 – December 2000)

Experimental Fires in Shrub Vegetation in Central Portugal

(IFFN No. 23 – December 2000, p. 102-105)

Under the coordination of the author, in the frame work of the EU funded INFLAME research project the GESTOSA 2000, shrubland experimental fires were carried out in Central Portugal on 19 and 20 May 2000. The experimental field of Gestosa was made available for the project by the Forestry Service of Portugal. It is situated in the Southern face of Serra da Lousã, near Castanheira de Pera, some 80 km from Coimbra.

During the two days of the experiments nine plots were burned under relatively severe conditions in a slope of around 60%. The plots had a width of around 80m and a length of 150m and were separated from each other by a fire break 6m wide. A survey of the vegetation carried out during several days prior to the experiments showed a dominance of the following species Erica umbellata, Chamaespartium tridentatum and Erica australis. The height of the vegetation was relativelly uniform inside each plot and its average value varied in the range of 0.6 m and 1.4m between the various plots. Within the scope of INFLAME project the main purpose of these experiments was the collection of experimental data to validate models and sub-models required to predict fire behaviour.

Six plots were burned with linear fire fronts propagating upslope. Rates of spread up to 0.7m/s were recorded in these experiments. The other three plots were burned with point ignitions in order to analyse the joint effect of wind and slope on this type of fires, that is being studied by the INFLAME Consortium.

Data on the vegetation status, meteorological conditions, fire spread properties, smoke dispersion and retardant efficiency were collected during the experiments by the various research teams. Wind properties were monitored continuously during the experiments at seven automatic weather stations situated in the close vicinity of the test area. Video and infra-red images were taken during each experiment both from ground level and from an helicopter that was made available by the Portuguese Fire Brigade Service. These images are being processed in order to obtain a detailed analysis of fire spread in connection with data collected by other methods. Concentration of smoke particles were measured by specialised equipment placed at various locations during each test in order to assess the impact of the smoke plume on the personnel safety at the fire scene and on the air quality at farther distances.

The experiments had the participation of more than 40 scientists from Portugal, Spain, France and Switzerland and involved the participation of other 50 persons from various operational institutions that provided the safety conditions and other logistic services required for the experiments.

In 1998 and 1999 similar experiments were carried out in the area of Gestosa under INFLAME project with the same objectives. Reports of these experiments are available under request to the author.

INFLAME Project runs under Contract ENV4-CT98-0700. The project activities started in May fo 1998 and will end in October of this year. The project involves the participation of the following research teams:









ADAI D. X. Viegas ADAI Coordinator



U. Alcalá E. Chuvieco UAH Sub-coordinator



Algosystems G. Eftichidis ALGO Sub-coordinator



U. Torino G. Bovio AGRO Partner



U. Aveiro C. Borrego UAV Partner



U. Aix-Marseille A. Douguedroit UAIX Partner



U. Seville A. Olero AICIA Partner



CEREN C. Picard CEREN Partner



WSL/FNP M. Conedera WSL Partner



U. Zurich B. Allgöwer GIUZ Partner



U. Nancy O. S. Guillaume LEMTA Sub-contractor



U. A. Barcelona E. Luque CAOS Sub-contractor



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Fig.1. Schematic view of the test plots of Gestosa field experiment. The plots burned in 2000 are numbered from 40 to 45. The plots in the lower part of the figure were burned in 1998 and the plots in the centre of the figure were used in the tests of in 1999.


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Fig.2. Burn of plot 43, ignited along its bottom.


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Fig.3. Burn of plot 45a, ignited at a single point.


 Contact address:

Domingos Xavier Viegas
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Technological Sciences, University of Coimbra
and Associacao para o Desenvolovimento da Aerodinamica Industrial
Apartado 10131
3030 Coimbra

Fax: ++351 239 790771
Tel: ++351 239 790732
E-mail: xavier.viegas@dem.uc.pt


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