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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Joseph J. Charney; Brian E. Potter
Publication Date: 2017

Convection and downbursts are connected meteorological phenomena with the potential to affect fire behavior and thereby alter the evolution of a wildland fire. Meteorological phenomena related to convection and down-bursts are often discussed in the context of fire behavior and smoke. The physical mechanisms that contribute to these phenomena are interrelated, but the phenomena are often misinterpreted or misun­derstood in the fire/smoke context. In this article, we discuss the physi­cal mechanisms associated with convection and downbursts, and we discuss terminology used in reference to fire-driven convection. We identify the role the phenomena could play in fire behavior and smoke, according to the scientific literature. We also discuss some of the misinterpretations and misun­derstandings that are common in the fire community.

Citation: Charney, Joseph J.; Potter, Brian E. 2017. Convection and downbursts. Fire Management Today 75(1):16-19.

Cataloging Information

Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    National
  • atmospheric dynamics
  • convection
  • downburst
  • meteorological factors
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 25257