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Fire Spread by Brand Spotting.

pdf icon Fire Spread by Brand Spotting. (877 K)
Pagni, P. J.; Woycheese, J. P.

NISTIR 6588; November 2000.

U.S./Japan Government Cooperative Program on Natural Resources (UJNR). Fire Research and Safety. 15th Joint Panel Meeting. Volume 2. Proceedings. March 1-7, 2000, San Antonio, TX, Bryner, S. L., Editor(s), 373-380 pp, 2000.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

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fire safety; fire research; fire spread; self extinguishment; combustion models; wood


Burning brands, lofted above large fires and propagated by the prevailing winds, can cause spot ignitions far from the flame front. These distant and unexpected fires are an important mechanism for fire spread in post-earthquake and urban/wildland intermix fires. The 20 October Oakland Hills Fire quickly overwhelmed fire fighting efforts, in part due to brand propagation and spotting hundreds of meters ahead of the fire front. Although spotting has received considerable attention from the forest fire community little research quantifies brand propagation from structures or rubble piles. Fire spread by brand spotting consists of three elements: lofting, propagation, and deposition with fire initiation. Previous research has either de-coupled the lofting and propagation phase or added simple linear combinations of plume and ambient winds due to the complex nature of the velocity field around and above large fires. New models are now available that utilize Large Eddy Simulation (LES) to enable calculation of terrain, ambient wind, and atmospheric effects on large fire plumes.