The radiative heat transfer plays an important role in fire problems since it is the dominant mode of heat transfer between flames and surroundings. It controls the pyrolysis, and therefore the heat release rate, and the growth rate of the fire. In the present work a numerical study of buoyant diffusion flames is carried out, with the main objective of modelling the thermal radiative transfer and the soot formation/destruction processes. In a first step, different radiative property models were tested in benchmark configurations. It was found that the FSCK coupled with the Modest and Riazzi mixing scheme was the best compromise in terms of accuracy and computational requirements, and was a good candidate to be implemented in CFD codes dealing with fire problems. In a second step, a semi-empirical soot model, considering acetylene and benzene as precursor species for soot nucleation, was validated in laminar coflow diffusion flames over a wide range of hydrocarbons (C1-C3) and conditions. In addition, the optically-thin approximation was found to produce large discrepancies in the upper part of these small laminar flames. Reliable predictions of soot volume fractions require the use of an advanced radiation model. Then the FSCK and the semi-empirical soot model were applied to simulate laboratory-scale and intermediate-scale pool fires of methane and propane. Predicted flame structures as well as the radiant heat flux transferred to the surroundings were found to be in good agreement with the available experimental data. Finally, the interaction between radiation and turbulence was quantified.