Wildfire rates of spread in grasslands under critical burning conditions
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Miguel G. Cruz; Martin E. Alexander; Musa Kilinc
Publication Year: 2022

Cataloging Information

  • Australia
  • dead fuel moisture content
  • fine fuels
  • fire danger
  • fire prediction
  • fire propagation
  • fire safety
  • fire spread
  • fire weather
  • fuel condition
  • grass fuels
  • model error
  • wind speed
  • International
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 15, 2022
FRAMES Record Number: 65779


An analysis of a dataset (n = 58) of high-intensity wildfire observations in cured grasslands from southern Australia revealed a simple relationship suitable for quickly obtaining a first approximation of a fire’s spread rate under low dead fuel moisture contents and strong wind speeds. It was found that the forward rate of fire spread is approximately 20% of the average 10-m open wind speed. The data on rate of fire spread and 10 m open wind speed ranged from 1.6 to 17 and 20 to 62 km h−1, respectively. The validity of the resulting rule of thumb was examined across a spectrum of burning conditions and its performance was contrasted against that of established empirical-based fire spread models for three different grassland fuel conditions currently used operationally in Australia. The 20% rule of thumb for grassfires produced error statistics comparable to that of the fire spread rate model for grazed or cut grass fuel conditions as recommended for general use during the summer fire season in southern Australia.

Online Link(s):
Cruz, Miguel G.; Alexander, Martin E.; Kilinc, Musa. 2022. Wildfire rates of spread in grasslands under critical burning conditions. Fire 5(2):55.

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