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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Bret W. Butler
Publication Date: 2014

Current wildland firefighter safety zone guidelines are based on studies that assume flat terrain, radiant heating, finite flame width, constant flame temperature and high flame emissivity. Firefighter entrapments and injuries occur across a broad range of vegetation, terrain and atmospheric conditions generally when they are within two flame heights of the fire. Injury is not confined to radiant heating or flat terrain; consequently, convective heating should be considered as a potential heating mode. Current understanding of energy transport in wildland fires is briefly summarised, followed by an analysis of burn injury mechanisms within the context of wildland fire safety zones. Safety zone theoretical and experimental studies are reviewed and a selection of wildland fire entrapments are examined within the context of safe separation distances from fires. Recommendations are made for future studies needed to more fully understand and define wildland firefighter safety zones.

Online Links
Citation: Butler, Bret W. 2014. Wildland firefighter safety zones: a review of past science and summary of future needs. International Journal of Wildland Fire 23(3):295-308.

Cataloging Information

Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    National
  • fire injuries (humans)
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • firefighter safety
  • firefighting personnel
  • health factors
  • mortality
  • safety zones
  • wildfires
  • wildland fire
Tall Timbers Record Number: 29995Location Status: In-fileCall Number: Journals - IAbstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 52799

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by Tall Timbers 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 Tall Timbers.