George Byram: father of fire science
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): D. D. Wade
Editor(s): D. D. Wade; R. Fox
Publication Year: 2013

Cataloging Information

  • Byram, G.M.
  • fire danger rating
  • fire management
  • North Carolina
  • research
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: July 24, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 54025
Tall Timbers Record Number: 31614
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
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.


George Byram's accomplishments read like the tree of fire science knowledge. The magnitude of his contributions tower above those of other fire science icons. Looking at the scope, importance and continued relevance of his contributions, one cannot help but reach the conclusion that George Byram is truly The Father of Fire Science. He concentrated on providing solutions to seemingly intractable problems faced by fire managers. Time after time, he demonstrated his ability to describe the basic physical concepts underlying the problem in question, formulate the necessary mathematical equations, and then describe the practical applications of his work. In so doing, Byram provided true solutions that continue to stand the test of time. He is responsible for the mathematical underpinnings for disciplines such as forest fuel combustion science, fire behavior, fire modeling, fire effects, fire detection, fuel moisture diffusion, fire danger rating, fire documentation, extreme (blow-up) fire behavior, mass (mega) fires, energy release and its interaction with the atmosphere, and firefighter safety. My presentation highlights some of George's contributions to fire science and fire management and ends with a few memories and anecdotes that provide insight into the personality traits that defined this gentleman and endeared him to those of us who had the distinct privilege and pleasure to be influenced by George's personal standards and professional ethics, as well as his wisdom and knowledge; we are better individuals as well as scientists thanks to George!

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (29.5 MB; pdf)
Wade, D. D. 2013. George Byram: father of fire science, in Wade, D. D. and Fox, R., Proceedings of Fourth Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference: at the crossroads: looking toward the future in a changing environment. Raleigh, NC; St. Petersburg, Russia. International Association of Wildland Fire,Missoula, MN. p. 173-211,Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference; No. 4.