FireWorks for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern Cascades - H07: Fire Spread Processes: Cutting Edge Research on Heat Transfer, Fuel Properties, Pyrolysis, and Ignition
Course Type: FireWorks activities
Availability: Public access
Author(s): FireWorks Educational Program
  • Ilana L. Abrahamson
    US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program
Date Created: June 8, 2018

Cataloging Information

  • fuel properties
  • heat transfer
  • ignition
  • pyrolysis
Partner Site(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 17, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 56028


Lesson Overview: This culminating lesson on the physical science of wildland fire challenges students to expand their understanding and link their knowledge of heat transfer processes, fuel properties, pyrolysis, and ignition through a series of thought-provoking videos and a presentation about current research - in particular, research currently underway at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory on heat transfer and ignition.

Lesson Goal: Students learn about current fire spread research and expand their understanding of basic fire spread processes.


  • Students will use their understanding of radiation and convection to explain how wildland fuels of different sizes and shapes are heated to ignition in different ways.