||Sharples, J.J., Viegas, D.X., Rossa, C.G. & McRae, R.H.D. (2010). Small-scale observations of atypical fire spread caused by the interaction of wind, terrain and fire. Proceedings VI International Conference on Forest Fire Research.
Small-scale observations of atypical fire spread caused by the interaction of wind, terrain and fire.
||Sharples, J.J., Viegas, D.X., Rossa, C.G. & McRae, R.H.D.
||The interaction of wind, terrain and a fire burning in a landscape can produce a variety of unusual yet significant effects on fire propagation. Moreover, there is strong evidence to suggest that such effects played an important role in driving the spread of large wildfires such as the January 2003 alpine fires over southeastern Australia, the February 2009 fires in Victoria and the January 2010 fires in the Tinderry Ranges to the southeast of the Australian Capital Territory. In this paper we investigate the interaction between wind, terrain and a fire burning on a lee slope through a number of small-scale experiments conducted within the combustion tunnel at the Laboroatório de Estudos sobre Incêndios Florestais in Lousã, Portugal. The experiments involved using an idealised ridge configuration, which was aligned perpendicular to a strong wind so as to produce a lee (separation) eddy. Fire was then introduced to the lee slope through a point ignition and the fire spread resulting from the interaction between the fire and the separated flow was observed. The interaction between the fire and separated flow was consistently observed to produce rapid lateral propagation of the fire across the top of the slope. The details of the rapid lateral spread are discussed along with some probable implications of this type of atypical fire spread for wildfire risk management at the landscape scale.
||wind, terrain and fire interaction; atypical wildfire spread; wildfire experiment; combustion tunnel; wildfire risk management.