Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (883 KB)

Title: Laboratory fire behavior measurements of chaparral crown fire

Author: Sanpakit, C.; Omodan, S.; Weise, D.; Princevac, M;

Date: 2015

Source: University of California Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal. 9: 123-129

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: In 2013, there was an estimated 9,900 wildland fires that claimed more than 577,000 acres of land. That same year, about 542 prescribed fires were used to treat 48,554 acres by several agencies in California. Being able to understand fires using laboratory models can better prepare individuals to combat or use fires. Our research focused on chaparral crown fires. Chaparral is a shrub community that blankets 5% of California land. As a result, it becomes key fuel sources for wildfires. By using chaparral to model crown fires, our goal is to develop a model that can be deployed for evacuation planning or firefighting in the event of these fires. Laboratory experiments were conducted at the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station. We utilized a wind tunnel equipped with cameras for visualization, arrays of thermocouples, and an in-house developed MATLAB script to analyze experiments. By controlling wind tunnel velocity, fuel moisture content and fuel geometry, we have quantified the fires by their flame heights, flame velocities and fuel consumption rates. Experiments were conducted inside the wind tunnel, with a raised platform for modeling crown fires. Results showed that wind velocity significantly enhances fire intensity and creates a far more destructive flame relative to one without wind. Also, depending on other variables, torching, incomplete burns, or spotting were observed in our experiments. Finally, results were used to validate a Computational Fluid Dynamics program that simulates fires.

Keywords: fire spread, fire transition, wildfire, chaparral, fire dynamic simulator, computational fluid dynamic model, wind tunnel, crown fire, chamise, experimental modeling

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Sanpakit, C.; Omodan, S.; Weise, D.; Princevac, M. 2015. Laboratory fire behavior measurements of chaparral crown fire. University of California Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal. 9: 123-129


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.