Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    The maximum temperatures of thermocouples, temperature-sensitive paints, and calorimeters exposed to flames in wildland fires are often called "fire temperatures" but are determined as much by the properties and deployment of the measurement devices as by the fires themselves. Rather than report device temperatures that are not generally comparable among studies, we show that maximum and time-integrated temperatures of relatively thick (4.8 mm diameter) type-K thermocouple probes (TCPs) can be calibrated to estimate fuel consumption and fire line intensity in surface fires. Although reporting standard fire characteristics is an improvement over reporting device temperatures, TCPs are not ideal instruments for monitoring surface fires, because they provide only point estimates of fire behavior and must be calibrated for different fire environments, TCP characteristics, and deployments. To illustrate how TCPs respond to fires and to point the way towards a more general calibration method, we report results from a numerical model that accurately simulated TCP response to a spreading surface fire.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Bova, Anthony S.; Dickinson, Matthew B. 2008. Beyond "fire temperatures": calibrating thermocouple probes and modeling their response to surface fires in hardwood fuels. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38:1008-1020.

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page