The counterfire: its use to cut and extinguish forest fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): C. A. Carretero
Publication Year: 1972

Cataloging Information

  • backfires
  • combustion
  • convection
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • fire whirls
  • flame length
  • flammability
  • forest management
  • gases
  • overstory
  • oxygen
  • rate of spread
  • temperature
  • volatilization
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 37323
Tall Timbers Record Number: 11777
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File-DDW
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, 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.


From the text...”Extinguishing forest fires must be done urgently, in most cases, using whatever tools at hand, with little time to employ mechanical methods. Making matters worse, location of the fire cannot be foreseen, nor such factors as wind direction and velocity. Passive defenses such as cutfires must be planned taking into account several variables, many which have to be estimated. This considered, one of the most useful instruments for firefighting has to be the counterfire, which has been used more or less empirically for many years. Although, in a forest fire combustibles are practically unlimited, it is through their use the counterfire extinguishes the forest fire. The counterfire is built by starting a new fire in the path of the oncoming forest fire. The two fires advance, and meeting halfway burn out. There follows an interest in annotating the movements of gases produced in and around the fires, and in evaluating causes acting as accelerators and decelerators in the advancement of the fireline. Furthermore, our actions in these disasters seek to save material wealth without risking human life. It is important to analyze where the risk is, in order to avoid the great danger of low oxygen levels which precede combustion...This study is limited to the dynamics of convection movements produced around or within the fire and counterfire in the order or practical applications.”

Carretero, C. A. 1972. The counterfire: its use to cut and extinguish forest fires. Montes, v. 24, no. 142, p. 307-323.