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Project ID: 16-4-05-1

Year: 2016

Date Started: 03/21/2016

Date Completed: 06/23/2017

Title: FIRETEC and WFDS Modeling of Fire Behavior and Smoke in Support of FASMEE

Project Proposal Abstract: The physics-based models FIRETEC and WFDS have been used to simulate a number of field experiments involving fire in wildland fuels. These models work by simulating the coupled physical processes driving fire behavior including the drying and thermal degradation of vegetation, gas phase combustion, heat transfer (convective and radiative), buoyancy induced flow, and smoke generation and transport. Thorough model validation requires measurements that support the assessment how well the component processes and fire behavior are captured. Fire behavior is the result of the component processes and includes total consumption of the vegetation, spread rates, fire line depth, and plume rise. Datasets appropriate for validating models for the component processes require relatively high spatial and temporal resolutions, experimental repeatability, and a controlled environment. These needs cannot be met in the large-area field experiments in FASMEE. For this reason, FASMEE observations are best focused on fire behavior and not the component physical processes. FASMEE candidate burn sites include low- to moderate-intensity burn (southeastern site) and a high-intensity (western site) burn. Recent experiments and modeling efforts have highlighted the challenges of obtaining measurements that adequately support validation of FIRETEC and WFDS fire behavior predictions for low- to moderate-intensity burns. The behavior of low- to moderate-intensity fires, relative to high-intensity fires, depends more on variations in the vegetation and wind. In other words, the required spatial and temporal resolution of vegetation and wind measurements, scales inversely with fire intensity. Given the large area (2000 acres) of the candidate low- to moderate-intensity burn site, the cost of obtaining adequate measurements for model validation will be very high. We suggest that the experimental design depend on the expected intensity and behavior of the fire. Higher-intensity fires may be more conducive to measurements that support a more thorough validation of fire behavior. Measurements of low- to moderate-intensity fire will likely need to be focused on more global or average fire behavior characteristics and trends.

Principal Investigator: William E. Mell

Agency/Organization: Forest Service

Branch or Dept: PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Vi T. Ta

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Budget Contact

Phillip A. Won

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Co-Principal Investigator

Rodman R. Linn

DOE-Department of Energy

LANL-Computational Earth Science


Chad M. Hoffman

Colorado State University

Department of Forest, Rangeland & Watershed Stewardship


Russell A. Parsons

Forest Service

RMRS-Fire Sciences Lab-Missoula


Carolyn H. Sieg

Forest Service

RMRS-Southwest Forest Science Complex

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network







Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   7903 Final Report Summary Final Report Summary

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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