Effects of the turbulent flame velocity on wildland fire spread [preprint]
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): T. Y. Palmer
Publication Year: 1974

Cataloging Information

  • Ceanothus
  • chaparral
  • fire intensity
  • flame length
  • fuel types
  • rate of spread
  • southern California
  • statistical analysis
  • temperature
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 39058
Tall Timbers Record Number: 13685
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
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.


Measurement in southern California chaparral prescribed fires show that the spread rates are increased by the effects of the turbulene on the flame velocities. The magnitude of the effect depends upon the fuel structure, local terrain, the atmospheric turbulence level (which may be modified by past fire behaior), and the wind speed of the air as it flows into the flame zone. In addition, the stoichiometric ratio in the flames may be important. Fire intensity may be similiarly affected. These effects combined to increase spread rates by a factor of 3 or 4 at ambient wind speeds of 5 meters/second. A logical extension of the theroy indicates increases in the spread rate by a factor of 20 may occur at ambient air speeds of 30 meters/second. The interactions are so complex and poorly understood that quantitative, accurate fire spread predictions are appearently almost impossible to make in southern California chaparral fuels at this time.

Palmer, T. Y. 1974. Effects of the turbulent flame velocity on wildland fire spread [preprint]. Proceedings of the Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology, v. 3, p. unnumbered.