A dimensionless correlation for the spread of wind-driven fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Ralph M. Nelson Jr.; Carl W. Adkins
Publication Year: 1988

Cataloging Information

  • Canada
  • combustion
  • field experimental fires
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • flammability
  • fuel types
  • grass fuels
  • grasses
  • ignition
  • logging
  • pine
  • rate of spread
  • slash
  • statistical analysis
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 2, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 28517
Tall Timbers Record Number: 2388
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-C
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.


Data for the behavior of 59 experimental wind-driven fires were extracted from the literature for use in determining a correlation among several variables known to influence the rate of forest fire spread. Also included in the correlation were unpublished data from six field fires. This information consisted of behavior measurements on small-scale burns of artificials fuels in the laboratory and measurements on field fires in diverse fuels such as grass and logging slash. Fire intensities ranged from about 40 to 4600 kW/m. Dimensional analysis was used to derive three variables governing the fire spread process. These variables, rearranged into a dimensionless rate of spread and a dimensionless wind speed, are strongly correlated and lead to a simple expression for fire spread rate in terms of fuel consumption, ambient wind speed, and flame residence time.© National Research Council of Canada, NRC Research Press. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Nelson, R. M., and C. W. Adkins. 1988. A dimensionless correlation for the spread of wind-driven fires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, v. 18, no. 4, p. 391-397.