Understanding wildland fire behavior critical for sound fire management
Working on Fire (WOF) hosted Professor Domingos Xavier Viegas, a globally renowned specialist in wildland fire behaviour from the University of Coimbra in Portugal, at the Provincial Disaster Management Centre in Tygerberg.
Various fire authorities from municipalities throughout the Western Cape and the provincial fire brigade services were briefed by Prof Viegas on wildland firefighting and prevention.
Aside from presenting a series of lectures in several other provinces, Prof Viegas was also in the country to assess Working on Fire’s procedures and state of knowledge concerning guidelines for firefighting teams, particularly those involved in dangerous field operations.
The presentation coincided with fire authorities in the Western Cape preparing for the upcoming summer fire season. In his presentation, titled ‘Application of Technology to Wildland Fire Management’, he focused on the necessity of having a good understanding of fire behaviour to safely perform fire suppression activities.
He said that while fire suppression is performed by well trained and equipped personnel, they often have to extinguish fire under social pressure, while in the process disregarding their own safety. In this regard, Professor Viegas praised the work done by WOF firefighters and said,
“I have looked into WOF’s fire suppression methods and I am quite impressed by the fact that your firefighters are very meticulous when suppressing fires.”