Effect of two-way coupling on the calculation of forest fire spread: model development
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): A. M.G. Lopes; L. M. Ribeiro; D. X. Viegas; J. R. Raposo
Publication Year: 2017

Cataloging Information

  • complex topography
  • fire propagation
  • fire spread simulation
  • fire-wind interaction
  • predictions
  • rate of spread
  • surface fire
  • turbulent flow
  • wind
  • wind simulation
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 55689
Tall Timbers Record Number: 33763
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Available
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use

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.


The present work addresses the problem of how wind should be taken into account in fire spread simulations. The study was based on the software system FireStation, which incorporates a surface fire spread model and a solver for the fluid flow (Navier-Stokes) equations. The standard procedure takes the wind field computed from a single simulation in the absence of fire, but this may not be the best option, especially for large fires. The two-way coupling method, however, considers the buoyancy effects caused by the fire heat release. Fire rate of spread is computed with the semi-empirical Rothermel model, which takes as input local terrain slope, fuels properties and wind speed and direction. Wind field is obtained by solving the mass, momentum and energy equations. Effects of turbulence on the mean flow field are taken into account with the k - e turbulence model. The calculation procedure consists of an interchange between the fire spread model and the wind model through a dynamic interaction. The present work describes the first part of this research, presenting the underlying models and a qualitative sensitivity analysis. It is shown that the update frequency for the dynamic interaction markedly influences the total calculation time. The best strategy for updating the wind field during the fire progression is presented. The dependence of results on mesh size is also described. Journal compilation © IAWF 2017

Lopes, A. M. G., L. M. Ribeiro, D. X. Viegas, and J. R. Raposo. 2017. Effect of two-way coupling on the calculation of forest fire spread: model development. International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 26, no. 9, p. 829-843. 10.1071/WF16045.