2019 NIST Christmas Tree competition

Each year, the UMD Department of Fire Protection Engineering supported by NIST hosts its Annual Christmas Tree Fire Safety Demonstration. The demo consists of a series of live-fire experiments on both natural and artificial Christmas trees to show the burning behaviour (size, intensity, and growth rate) of typical Christmas tree fires. These experiments demonstrate the impact of moisture content on ignition, fire growth rate and peak burning behaviour – proof that it is vital to maintain well-hydrated trees.

As part of the demonstration, students, faculty researchers and engineers from Fire Safety Science and Engineering programs around the world are invited to join this year’s “burning behaviour prediction” competition – of a Balsam Fir Christmas Tree – from ignition to burnout. Individual submissions must predict parameters including the Fire Growth Rate, Peak Heat Release Rate (Peak HRR), Duration of Steady Burning, and Fire Decay.

For the 2019 Competition, 96 unique predictions from 29 institutions across 8 countries were received. The video of the 2019 Christmas Tree Burn can be watched here:

This year’s competition, Dr Felix Wiesner, Mr Jaime Cadena Gomez, Mr Mateo Gutierrez, Mr Mohamad Lutfi Ramadhan, Mr Abdulrahman Zaben, Mr Andrea Lucherini, Mr Hangyu Xu, Mr Vinny Gupta, and Mr Julian Mendez represented UQ Fire. The UQ Fire prediction results were exceptionally good, obtaining the best individual submission, with four people submitted significantly better than average predictions (>70 points), as well as the best team group prediction (average of the individual submissions from the same institution).

Best Individual Predictions (individuals who scored 70 pts or higher):

1. Mateo Gutierrez, University of Queensland (90.75 pts)

2. Mohamad Lutfi Ramadhan, University of Queensland (87.62 pts)

3. Junyi Li, Ghent University (84.31 pts)

4. Andrea Lucherini, University of Queensland (83.08)

5. Vinny Gupta, University of Queensland (81.09 pts)

Best Group/Team Average Score (3 or more individuals from one University/Research Institution):

1. University of Queensland (69.50 points, 14 points higher than last year!)

2. Ghent University (62.23 points)

3. NIST (56.10 points)

4. DBI (49.76 points)

5. USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory (46.07 points)

Big congratulations must be given to the UQ Fire team who proudly represented our group. As the best group, UQ Fire will earn the second consecutive Golden Pinecone from NIST. Special congratulations to Mateo who submitted the second consecutive best individual prediction, and Dr Martyn McLaggan who earned his fourth consecutive Golden Pinecone.

We also thank UMD and NIST for organising this competition!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

p.s. “If you have a natural Christmas Tree this season, please keep it healthy and well-watered and away from potential ignition sources.”

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