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

An experiment to test the potential for glass fragments to ignite wildland fuels

Klaus-Peter Wittich A C and Tanja Müller B

A Agrarmeteorologische Forschung, Deutscher Wetterdienst, D-38116 Braunschweig, Germany.

B Institut für Geoökologie, Technische Universität Braunschweig, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany.

C Corresponding author. Email: klaus-peter.wittich@dwd.de

International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(7) 885-891 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF08069
Submitted: 6 May 2008  Accepted: 15 October 2008   Published: 27 October 2009

Abstract

It is current opinion that glass fragments can serve as an ignition source for grassland, bush and forest fires by focussing sunlight. In order to check the validity of this assumption, ignition experiments were conducted in the open over six litter samples taken from forests in northern Germany. Of several glass fragments, the five bottle bottoms best focussing sunlight were installed 15–50 cm above the litter materials. We found that one bottle bottom was able to slightly char spruce needles, beech leaves and blades of grass. Although this particular bottle bottom let the temperature increase up to 327°C, flame formation did not occur. A secondary (but more realistic) experiment with a glass-bottle bottom lying on the litter led to a maximum temperature of 82°C in the space between the litter and the glass fragment.

Additional keywords: burning-glass effect, ignition experiments, light focussing.


References

Anon . (1982) Omówienie: wyników badań zmierzających do ustalenia pożarów leśnych od porzuconego szkła i opakowań szklanych. Independent Forest Fire Protection Laboratory, Raszyn, Forest Research Institute. (Warsaw, Poland)

Atreya A1998Ignition of fires.Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences35627872813doi:10.1098/RSTA.1998.0298

Babrauskas V (2001) Ignition of wood: a review of the state of the art. In ‘Proceedings of the 9th International Interflam Conference’, 17–19 September 2001, Edinburgh, Scotland. pp. 71–88. (Interscience Communications Ltd: London)

Babrauskas V (2003) ‘Ignition Handbook.’ (Fire Science Publishers: Issaquah, WA)

Cheney P, Sullivan A (1997) ‘Grassfires – Fuel, Weather and Fire Behaviour.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)

Fuquay DMBaughman RG1965Can glass and metal containers start forest fires?Fire Control Notes2635

Geiger R1933Können herumliegende Bierflaschen einen Waldbrand verursachen?Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt55523526


Gisborne HT (1936) Measuring fire weather and forest inflammability. USDA Circular Number 398. (Washington, DC)

Kroth WZang P1971Das Waldbrandrisiko in den Bayerischen Staatsforsten.Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt90328336
doi:10.1007/BF02753261

Müller T (2007) Wirkung von Glasscherben bei der Entzündung von Streuauflagen. Diploma Thesis, Technische Universität Braunschweig.

Müller TWittich K-PLex PDurner W2007Verursacht Glas Waldbrände?Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift – Der Wald62990992

National Wildfire Coordinating Group (2005) ‘Wildfire Origin and Cause Determination Handbook.’ NWCG Handbook 1, PMS 412-1, NFES 1874. Available at
http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/pubs/nfes1874/nfes1874.pdf [Verified 13 August 2009]

Taylor WL1930The problem of fire in British forests.Forestry47892

von Deichmann V1960Über die Zünd- und Brenneigenschaften von Waldbodenbelägen.Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt79352361
doi:10.1007/BF01831570

Weber R (2000) Bushfire causes. In ‘Proceedings of the Seminar “FIRE! The Australian Experience” ’, 30 September–1 October 1999, University of Adelaide, Australia. pp. 39–44. (National Academies Forum: Canberra)

Wittich K-PLex P2005Waldbrände durch Glasflaschen?Allgemeine Forstzeitschrift – Der Wald60625626



Export Citation Cited By (1)