Wildland fire behavior case studies and the 1938 Honey Fire controversy
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Martin E. Alexander; Stephen W. Taylor
Publication Year: 2010

Cataloging Information

  • backfire
  • fire behavior case study
  • fire case histories
  • fire control
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • firebreak
  • forest management
  • Honey Fire
  • human caused fires
  • large fires
  • Louisiana
  • national forests
  • pine forests
  • Pinus elliottii
  • rate of spread
  • seedlings
  • SFP - Southern Fire Portal
  • spot fires
  • suppression tactics
  • tactical planning
  • wildfire
  • wildfire suppression
  • wind
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 8, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 11890
Tall Timbers Record Number: 24741
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.32:70/1
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.


Over the past 90 years, fire research has contributed to our understanding of wildland fire behavior through laboratory and field experiments, physical and empirical modeling, numerical simulations, analyses of individual fire reports, and wildfire case studies. Although basic research on combustion is essential to a full understanding of fire behavior, such research would not be very useful without actual field experience gained and case study documentation (Brown 1959). In general terms, what is a case study? Contributors on Wikipedia ( propose that case studies 'provide a systematic way of looking at events, collecting data, analyzing information, and reporting the results.' With the renewed interest in carrying out research on active wildfire s (e.g., Lentile and others 2007a), it is worth reexamining the features of a good case study. To this end, this article summarizes the findings from the case study of the controversial Honey Fire of 1938, originally published in Fire Control Notes by Olsen (1941)-one of the first comprehensive case studies of a wildland fire undertaken by fire behavior researchers. This account was reprinted in the Fall 2003 issue of Fire Management Today, the first of three special issues devoted to the subject of wildland fire behavior (Thomas and Alexander 2006).

[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):
Alexander, Martin E.; Taylor, Stephen W. 2010. Wildland fire behavior case studies and the 1938 Honey Fire controversy. Fire Management Today 70(1):15-25.

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