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
    Author(s): Paul A. Werth; Brian E. Potter; Craig B. Clements; Mark A. FinneyScott L. Goodrick; Martin E. Alexander; Miguel G. Cruz; Jason A. Forthofer; Sara S. McAllister
    Date: 2011
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-854. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 144 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (4.83 MB)

    Description

    The National Wildfire Coordinating Group definition of extreme fire behavior (EFB) indicates a level of fire behavior characteristics that ordinarily precludes methods of direct control action. One or more of the following is usually involved: high rate of spread, prolific crowning/spotting, presence of fire whirls, and strong convection column. Predictability is difficult because such fires often exercise some degree of influence on their environment and behave erratically, sometimes dangerously. Alternate terms include “blow up” and “fire storm.”

    Fire managers examining fires over the last 100 years have come to understand many of the factors necessary for EFB development. This work produced guidelines included in current firefighter training, which presents the current methods of predicting EFB by using the crown fire model, which is based on the environmental influences of weather, fuels, and topography.

    Current training does not include the full extent of scientific understanding. Material in current training programs is also not the most recent scientific knowledge. National Fire Plan funds have sponsored newer research related to wind profiles’ influence on fire behavior, plume growth, crown fires, fire dynamics in live fuels, and conditions associated with vortex development. Of significant concern is that characteristic features of EFB depend on conditions undetectable on the ground, relying fundamentally on invisible properties such as wind shear or atmospheric stability.

    Obviously no one completely understands all the factors contributing to EFB because of gaps in our knowledge. These gaps, as well as the limitations as to when various models or indices apply should be noted to avoid application where they are not appropriate or warranted. This synthesis will serve as a summary of existing extreme fire behavior knowledge for use by fire managers, firefighters, and fire researchers.

    The objective of this project is to synthesize existing EFB knowledge in a way that connects the weather, fuel, and topographic factors that contribute to development of EFB. This synthesis will focus on the state of the science, but will also consider how that science is currently presented to the fire management community, including incident commanders, fire behavior analysts, incident meteorologists, National Weather Service office forecasters, and firefighters. It will seek to clearly delineate the known, the unknown, and areas of research with the greatest potential impact on firefighter protection.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us 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.

    Citation

    Werth, Paul A.; Potter, Brian E.; Clements, Craig B.; Finney, Mark A.; Goodrick, Scott L.; Alexander, Martin E.; Cruz, Miguel G.; Forthofer, Jason A.; McAllister, Sara S. 2011. Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: volume I for fire managers. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-854. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 144 p.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Extreme fire behavior, fuels, fire behavior.

    Related Search


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