The fire environment: principles of fire behavior
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): Stephen J. Pyne
Editor(s): Stephen J. Pyne
Publication Year: 1982

Cataloging Information

  • backfires
  • blowups
  • catastrophic fires
  • char
  • chemistry
  • combustion
  • conduction
  • convection
  • crown fires
  • decomposition
  • droughts
  • duff
  • fire adaptations (plants)
  • fire case histories
  • fire control
  • fire damage (property)
  • fire danger rating
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire protection
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • fire whirls
  • firestorm
  • flame length
  • flammability
  • floods
  • forest types
  • fuel loading
  • fuel moisture
  • grasses
  • ground fires
  • heat
  • heat effects
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • hydrology
  • ignition
  • India
  • Komarek, E.V., Sr.
  • landscape ecology
  • live fuels
  • military lands
  • national forests
  • New England
  • nutrients
  • oxygen
  • physics
  • pitch
  • private lands
  • pyrolysis
  • rivers
  • sloping terrain
  • spot fires
  • statistical analysis
  • thermodynamics
  • topography
  • understory vegetation
  • US Forest Service
  • water
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
  • wildland fuels
  • wind
  • woody fuels
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 9, 2023
FRAMES Record Number: 43145
Tall Timbers Record Number: 18324
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
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.


From the text... 'To understand and predict wildland fire behavior, it is necessary to enlarge analogies drawn from confined fires and to create models for the components of the fire environment, such as fuels and weather, and for the mechanics of fire propagation. Wildland fire behavior multiplies probability with probability. Unlike astronomy, where it is possible to predict the position and velocity of individual objects with great precision, fire behavior deals with statistical ensembles -- the limitless nuances of fuel complexes, the restless variety of topographic forms, and the maddening vagaries of weather, particularly on micro- and mesoscales. Wildland fire does not merely resemble a climatic or meteorological phenomenon; it results from them and is thus another order removed from simple determinism. Rather than presetting the key parameters, it is necessary to predict what they will be. ... Nor is modern mankind immune from the vision of holocaust. The development of thermonuclear weapons has, if anything, magnified the prospect of an apocalypse by fire and has perhaps helped to sustain an ancient perception of fire as destroyer. In fact, the problem of mass fire and thermonuclear armaments first led to the detailed investigation of the physics of fire behavior. There are, as E.V. Komarek notes, numerous words to describe the various states of water, but until the recent research into fire-behavior physics there was basically one word to describe fire. Of the two great forces, fire and water, fire remains the more terrible, the least negotiable, and the most final.' ©1982 by Princeton University Press.

Pyne, S. J. 1982. The fire environment: principles of fire behavior, in SJ Pyne ed., Fire in America: a cultural history of wildland and rural fire. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, p. 20-23.