CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > International Journal of Wildland Fire   
International Journal of Wildland Fire
  Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Research Fronts
Sample Issue
20-Year Author Index
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
Awards and Prizes
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates
Library Recommendation

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with CP
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn

red arrow Connect with IAWF
blank image
facebook twitter LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 18(1)

The importance of fire–atmosphere coupling and boundary-layer turbulence to wildfire spread

Ruiyu Sun A D, Steven K. Krueger A, Mary Ann Jenkins B, Michael A. Zulauf A, Joseph J. Charney C

A Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0110, USA.
B Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, York University, Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada.
C United States Forest Service, North Central Research Station, East Landsing, MI, USA.
D Corresponding author. Email: ruiyu.sun@noaa.gov
PDF (4.3 MB) $25
 Export Citation


The major source of uncertainty in wildfire behavior prediction is the transient behavior of wildfire due to changes in flow in the fire’s environment. The changes in flow are dominated by two factors. The first is the interaction or ‘coupling’ between the fire and the fire-induced flow. The second is the interaction or ‘coupling’ between the fire and the ambient flow driven by turbulence due to wind gustiness and eddies in the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). In the present study, coupled wildfire–atmosphere large-eddy simulations of grassland fires are used to examine the differences in the rate of spread and area burnt by grass fires in two types of ABL, a buoyancy-dominated ABL and a roll-dominated ABL. The simulations show how a buoyancy-dominated ABL affects fire spread, how a roll-dominated ABL affects fire spread, and how fire lines interact with these two different ABL flow types. The simulations also show how important are fire–atmosphere couplings or fire-induced circulations to fire line spread compared with the direct impact of the turbulence in the two different ABLs. The results have implications for operational wildfire behavior prediction. Ultimately, it will be important to use techniques that include an estimate of uncertainty in wildfire behavior forecasts.

Keywords: atmospheric boundary layer, coupled atmosphere–wildfire numerical model, fire-induced convection, grassland fire, probabilistic wildfire prediction, rate of fire spread.

Subscriber Login

Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2016