Introduction: Backdraft is not a very well known phenomenon and is still undergoing research by many science and research centres across the world. Backdraft takes place in poorly ventilated confinements and develops over an extended timescale. It occurs when the fire in a room has consumed most of the oxygen, partly burned itself out and a void is created within e.g. by opening a door or breaking a glass window. Two gravitational streams are created, each pulling in the opposite direction. The first, at the upper level, will consist of escaping hot gasses from the fire. The second, at lower level, will be incoming fresh air. When fresh air reaches the source of ignition (more often it is the starting point of the fire) the new mixture will ignite and burn. The ferocity and duration of the process depends on volume of the new mixture within the flammable range and it may be accompanied by a fireball. The first mention of backdraft, accompanied by an attempt to explain the phenomenon, appeared in 1914. Backdraft was explained as the “ignition of smoke and soot”. Until the 1970’s there was practically no research undertaken to explain this phenomenon. From the 1980’s until now one can see a clear interest in experimental research of backdraft, accompanied by tests to determine conditional parameters for it to occur. Undoubtedly, backdraft fires contributed to the deaths of fire fighters. Experimental studies were conducted on a range of flammable materials; solids, liquids and gasses. Depending on materials tested, minimal backdraft conditions vary from 2.5% to 10% of unburned fuel concentration by volume. During recent 15 years, apart from experimental research interest, one can detect a significant growth in the use of state of the art tools for backdraft fire simulation. Continuously improved sophisticated modelling programmes, accompanied by faster computers, are capable of reproducing consequences of backdraft on home computers.
Keywords: backdraft, fire hazard, fire modelling