Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
Email

 

You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Sensitivity of Grass Fires Burning in Marginal Conditions to Atmospheric Turbulence

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Author(s): Jonko, Alexandra K.; Yedinak, Kara M.; Conley, Juliana L.; Linn, Rodman R.

Publication Year: 2021  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4716-2A

Abstract: Atmospheric forcing and interactions between the fire and atmosphere are primary drivers of wildland fire behavior. The atmosphere is known to be a chaotic system that, although deterministic, is very sensitive to small perturbations to initial conditions. We assume that as a result of the tight coupling between fire and atmosphere; wildland fire behavior, in turn, should also be sensitive to perturbations in atmospheric initial conditions. Observations suggest that low intensity prescribed fire, in particular, is susceptible to small perturbations in the wind field, which can significantly alter fire spread. Here, we employ a computational fluid dynamics model of coupled fire-atmosphere interactions to answer the question: How sensitive is fire behavior to small variations in atmospheric turbulence? We perform ensemble simulations of fires in homogenous grass fuels. The only difference between ensemble members is the state of the turbulent atmosphere provided to the model throughout the simulation. The atmospheric state is a function of the initial conditions applied at the start of the simulation and boundary conditions applied throughout the simulation. We find a wide range of outcomes, with area burned ranging from 2,212 to 11,236 m2 (>400% change), driven primarily by sensitivity to initial conditions, with nonnegligible contributions from boundary condition variability during the initial 30 s of simulation. Our results highlight the need for ensemble simulations, especially when considering fire behavior in marginal burning conditions.

Keywords: fire-atmosphere interactions; fire behavior model; atmospheric turbulence; marginal burning; prescribed fire; grass fire; sensitivity analysis

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 4,096 kb(s)

Date posted: 09/02/2021

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 10233

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »


Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »


Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


Nanotechnology

A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »


Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »