Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Measurements of convective and radiative heating in wildland fires


David Frankman
Brent W. Webb
Daniel Jimenez
Kyle S. Shannon
J. Kevin Hiers



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station


International Journal of Wildland Fire. 22: 157-167


Time-resolved irradiance and convective heating and cooling of fast-response thermopile sensors were measured in 13 natural and prescribed wildland fires under a variety of fuel and ambient conditions. It was shown that a sensor exposed to the fire environment was subject to rapid fluctuations of convective transfer whereas irradiance measured by a windowed sensor was much less variable in time, increasing nearly monotonically with the approach of the flame front and largely declining with its passage. Irradiance beneath two crown fires peaked at 200 and 300kWm-2, peak irradiance associated with fires in surface fuels reached 100kWm-2 and the peak for three instances of burning in shrub fuels was 132kWm-2. The fire radiative energy accounted for 79% of the variance in fuel consumption. Convective heating at the sensor surface varied from 15% to values exceeding the radiative flux. Detailed measurements of convective and radiative heating rates in wildland fires are presented. Results indicate that the relative contribution of each to total energy release is dependent on fuel and environment.


Frankman, David; Webb, Brent W.; Butler, Bret W.; Jimenez, Daniel; Forthofer, Jason M.; Sopko, Paul; Shannon, Kyle S.; Hiers, J. Kevin; Ottmar, Roger D. 2012. Measurements of convective and radiative heating in wildland fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 22: 157-167.


Publication Notes

  • 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.