Skip to Main Content
A qualitative comparison of fire spread models incorporating wind and slope effectsAuthor(s): David R. Weise; Gregory S. Biging
Source: Forest Science. 43(2): 170-180
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: View PDF (559.16 KB)
DescriptionWind velocity and slope are two critical variables that affect wildland fire rate of spread. The effects of these variables on rate of spread are often combined in rate-of-spread models using vector addition. The various methods used to combine wind and slope effects have seldom been validated or compared due to differences in the models or to lack of data. In this study, rate-of-spread predictions from the Canadian Fire Behavior Prediction (FBP) system, McArthur's Mark V forest fire danger meter, the Rothermel empirical model, and the Pagni and Peterson physical model were compared with spread rates observed in a designed laboratory experiment in which wind velocity and slope were varied. Methods of combining wind and slope developed by Albini, McAlpine, and Rothermel were applied to two forms of Rothermel's model. Rothermel's model (original and modified) coupled with Albini's method and Pagni's model predictions closely reproduced the observed shape of the rateof-spread response to wind and slope. Rothermel's method and McAlpine's method worked well in all cases except in upslope spread with opposed flow. However, Rothermel's model failed to predict a nonzero rate of spread in fuel beds with moisture contents of 35%. Possible causes of overprediction by McArthur's model and the FBP model included: (1) application of equations derived from full-scale fires to laboratory-scale fires, (2) improper selection of fuel type to represent artificial fuel beds, and (3) inaccurate estimation of wind velocity 10 m above the vegetation surface using a logarithmic profile. FOR. SCI. 43(2):170-180.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- 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.
CitationWeise, David R.; Biging, Gregory S. 1997. A qualitative comparison of fire spread models incorporating wind and slope effects. Forest Science. 43(2): 170-180
KeywordsFire behavior, rate of spread
- Fire spread in chaparral – a comparison of laboratory data and model predictions in burning live fuels
- A laboratory-scale comparison of rate of spread model predictions using chaparral fuel beds – preliminary results
- Fire spread in chaparral -"go or no-go?"
XML: View XML