Counter-firing is a fire-fighting technique in which a small fire is placed at a certain distance form a wildfire. As a result of in-draft small fire is pulled in by the wildfire thereby creating a fire-break, a strip of land with no fuel preventing fire from spreading.

There are numerous advantages of counter-firing. To begin with it enables for fighting of large fires using relatively small human resources. Secondly, water is not required and, as a result, counter-firing can be applied almost instantly without having to wait for water to arrive. Small human resources, no need for water, and short fire suppression time result in financial savings. Additionally, there are claims of health benefits to the fire-fighters who are exposed to less smoke than in the conventional attack techniques.

On the downside, counter-firing also presents a number of challenges. To begin with it counter-firing is not applicable in a number of fire scenarios including forest and high-canopy fires. Counter-firing may, but may not work depending on topography, weather, fuels and the uniformity of the wildfire front. Last, but not least, very little is known about where to place counter-fires to make them work effectively. As a result counter-firing is used predominantly as a last resort. 

Due to high financial and time implications conventional experimental studies are not an option, instead, CFD, a technique presenting substantial financial and time savings is adopted. Research presented on this website explores different weather and fuel conditions where counter-firing could potentially be applied. Flow regime in the fire-affected zone is investigated with the aim of establishing the distance for effective counter-firing.

Flow around fire

Picture below illustrates CFD-generated flow behaviour around a wildfire. The project investigates in-draft in order to assess whether counter-fires would be pulled in by the wildfire. 
Setting fire to fight fire (Courtesy of
Videos showing counter-firing