This article is concerned with the numerical simulation of flows at low Mach numbers which are subject to the gravitational force and strong heat sources. As a specific example for such flows, a fire event in a car tunnel will be considered in detail. The low Mach flow is treated with a preconditioning technique allowing the computation of unsteady flows, while the source terms for gravitation and heat are incorporated via operator splitting. It is shown that a first order discretization in space is not able to compute the buoyancy forces properly on reasonable grids. The feasibility of the method is demonstrated on several test cases.