WIT Press

Rekindle Dynamics: Validating The Pressure On Wildland Fire Suppression Resources And Implications For Fire Management In Portugal


Free (open access)





Page Range

225 - 236




795 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. P. Pacheco, J. Claro & T. Oliveira


Rekindles can represent a high burden on wildland fire suppression resources, but despite the relevance of this phenomenon in Portugal, related research is still scarce. Seeking to contribute to address this gap, the purpose of this study was to organize and provide an overview of the problem of rekindles in Portugal, and to verify whether evidence exists that the high proportion of rekindles in Portugal is related to the double duty of Portuguese firefighters to perform initial attack and mop-up operations. Our study included informal meetings, formal recorded interviews, dispatch centre visits, actual rekindle observation, and an analysis of the National Forest Authority database. From the study of genealogies of rekindles, we concluded that 17.2% additional forest fires (rekindles in successive generations) had their origin in only 7.4% of primary fires. Through linear regression analysis, we found that their proportions increase in days with more occurrences, preliminarily supporting the hypothesis of premature abandonment of mop-up operations, as a result from the pressure to immediately attack starting fires by the same crews. A more detailed analysis of two representative districts highlighted specific organizational and natural challenges to successful mop-up efforts and provided further evidence of the hazardousness of rekindles. Keywords: wildfire, rekindle, mop-up operations, reburn, initial attack, suppression.


wildfire, rekindle, mop-up operations, reburn, initial attack, suppression.