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Fire behavior of the large fires of 2007 in Greece

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Miltiadis Athanasiou1, Gavriil Xanthopoulos2

Environmentalscientist – M.Sc. Prevention and Management of Natural Disasters

8 Thoma Paleologou st., 13673 Acharnes, e-mail:

2National Agricultural Research Foundation, Greece

Inst. of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems & Forest Products Technology



This paper concerns on site observations and measurements of wildland fire behavior characteristics during the 2007 fire season in Greece. The values of the environmental variables, present at the time of the start and during the spread of these fires, as well as topography and forest fuels were measured and recorded in the field. Additional information, gathered after the wildfires were over, was also utilized. Consequently, detailed case studies were generated and a total of 70 fire spread observations were recorded and inserted into a database.

For 20 of these observations, concerning rate of fire spread in evergreen schlerophyllous shrubs, estimated values of surface rate of spread were obtained using the BehavePlus fire behavior prediction system, utilizing a slightly modified published fuel model (Dimitrakopoulos et al. 2001, Dimitrakopoulos, 2002) for “evergreen-schlerophyllous shrublands (maquis) (1.5 – 3 m)” for Greece. Analysis of these data were showed that the estimated values of surface fire rate of spread (ROSestimated(surface) were correlated quite well with actual values that were measured in the field (ROSobserved). The fuel model for evergreen sclerophyllous shrublands, that was tested, is judged as performing quite well and can be used reliably for surface fire behavior prediction with the BehavePlus system. Further examination in a wider range of conditions is, of course, desirable in order to improve confidence and broaden possible operational uses.