Risk of Fire Spread in Densely Built Environments – A Review Emphasizing Cities in Japan –
Pioneering Research Unit for Next Generation, Kyoto University, Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan
Japanese cities have historically experienced many urban fires and, despite measures implemented up to now, some 25,000 ha of vulnerable urban area remain at risk. In this review, we start with a history of urban fires mainly in the 20th century together with a description of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake Fire, the 1976 Sakata Fire, and the 1995 Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. We then look at attempts in developing prediction models for urban fire spread, features of empirical models widely applied in loss estimation, and physics-based models recently developed. We also review approaches to measures against urban fire spread and a recent attempt using a GIS-based system.