International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Mantras of wildland fire behaviour modelling: facts or fallacies?

Miguel Cruz , Martin Alexander , Andrew Sullivan


Generalised statements about the state of fire science are often used to provide a simplified context for new work. This paper explores the validity of five frequently repeated statements regarding empirical and physical models for predicting wildland fire behaviour. For empirical models, these include statements that they: (1) work well over the range of their original data; and (2) are not appropriate for and should not be applied to conditions outside the range of the original data. For physical models, common statements include that they: (3) provide insight into the mechanisms that drive wildland fire spread and other aspects of fire behaviour; (4) give a better understanding of how fuel treatments modify fire behaviour; and (5) can be used to derive simplified models to predict fire behaviour operationally. The first statement was judged to be true only under certain conditions while the second was shown not to be necessarily correct if valid data and appropriate modelling forms are used. Statements 3 to 5, although theoretically valid, were considered not to be true given the current state of knowledge regarding fundamental wildland fire processes.

WF17097  Accepted 14 August 2017

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