Purificação, C.; Andrade, N.; Potes, M.; Salgueiro, V.; Couto, F.T.; Salgado, R. Modelling the Atmospheric Environment Associated with a Wind-Driven Fire Event in Portugal. Atmosphere 2022, 13, 1124. https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13071124
Increased knowledge of the meteorological conditions that lead to mega-fires is important to prevent wildfires and improve firefighting. This study analyses the atmospheric conditions that led to the largest forest fire ever observed in Portugal in 2019. The fire burned an estimated total area of around 9000 hectares in 12 h. The study is based on two simulations performed with the Meso-NH atmospheric model. The control simulation was configured in a single and large domain with 2500 m resolution, whereas a second simulation was configured using the grid nesting technique with an inner domain with 500 m resolution. The fire developed under typical summer conditions, under the influence of the Azores anticyclone and the presence of the Iberian thermal low. The weather pattern included intense northwest winds in the western region of the Iberian Peninsula. In the fire area, the wind speed was around 7 m s−1 with maximum wind gusts of 15 m s−1, favouring the rapid spread of the fire and characterising the event as a wind-driven fire. This study demonstrates the benefits of the use of large domains and high-resolution numerical simulations to explore the regional and local effects, which are crucial for the evolution of some fires.
Read the full article.