Fire whirlwinds in the laboratory
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): George M. Byram; Robert E. Martin
Publication Year: 1962

Cataloging Information

  • fire management
  • fire whirl
  • gases
  • horizontal velocity
  • laboratory experiments
  • laboratory fires
  • vertical velocity
  • whirlwind
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 5, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 11826
Tall Timbers Record Number: 7167
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


[Excerpted from text] Most experienced firefighters have encountered fire whirlwinds. These whirls, or "fire devils" as they are sometimes called, range in size from small twisters a foot or two in diameter up to violent whirls equal to small tornadoes in size and intensity. Graham gives examples where tornado-like fire whirls have twisted off large trees and lifted large logs. Whirlwinds have also occurred on fire fires. In his account of the great Chicago fire of 1871, Musham states that burning planks were lifted by fire whirlwinds and dropped as fat as three-eighths of a mile ahead of the main fire. He attributes a large part of the destruction of the city to burning material carried by the fire whirlwinds.

[This publication is referenced in the "Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: volume I for fire managers" (Werth et al 2011).]

Online Link(s):
Byram, G.M.; Martin, R.E. 1962. Fire whirlwinds in the laboratory. Fire Control Notes 23(1):13-17.