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A dynamics based view of atmosphere-fire interactions




Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station

Historical Station(s):

North Central Research Station


International Journal of Wildland Fire 11:247-255


Current research on severe fire interactions with the atmosphere focuses largely on examination of correlations between fire growth and various atmospheric properties, and on the development of indices based on these correlations. The author proposes that progress requires understanding the physics and atmospheric dynamics behind the correlations. A conceptual 3-stage model of fire development, based on atmospheric structure, is presented. Using parcel theory and basic atmospheric dynamics equations, the author proposes possible causal explanations for some of the known correlations. The atmospheric dynamics are discussed in terms of the 3-stage model, but can also be viewed more generally. The overall goal is to reframe fire-atmosphere interactions in a way that will allow better understanding and progress in fire science, prediction, and safety.


Potter, Brian E. 2002. A dynamics based view of atmosphere-fire interactions. International Journal of Wildland Fire 11:247-255

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