Field-Scale Physical Modelling of Grassfire Propagation on Sloped Terrain under Low-Speed Driving Wind

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Innocent, Jasmine, Sutherland, Duncan and Moinuddin, Khalid ORCID: 0000-0002-1831-6754 (2023) Field-Scale Physical Modelling of Grassfire Propagation on Sloped Terrain under Low-Speed Driving Wind. Fire, 6 (10). ISSN 2571-6255


Driving wind and slope of terrain can increase the rate of surface fire propagation. Previous physical modelling under higher driving wind (3–12.5 m/s) on slopes (Innocent et al., IJWF, 2023, 32(4), pp. 496–512 and 513–530) demonstrated that the averaged rate of fire spread (RoS) varied from that of empirical models. This study investigates the potential for better agreement at lower wind velocities (0.1 and 1 m/s), since empirical models are typically developed from experimental studies conducted under benign wind conditions. The same physical model WFDS is used. The results are analysed to understand the behaviour of various parameters (RoS, fire isochrone progression, fire intensity, flame dynamics, and heat fluxes) across different slopes. The RoS–slope angle relationship closely fits an exponential model, aligning with the findings from most experimental studies. The relative RoSs are aligned more closely with the Australian and Rothermel models’ slope corrections for 0.1 and 1 m/s, respectively. The relationship between flame length and fire intensity matches predictions from an empirical power–law correlation. Flame and plume dynamics reveal that the plume rises at a short distance from the ignition line and fire propagation is primarily buoyancy-driven. The Byram number analysis shows buoyancy-dominated fire propagation at these lower wind velocities. Convective heat fluxes are found to be more significant at greater upslopes. The study confirmed that “lighter & drier” fuel parameters accelerated the fire front movement, increasing the RoS by approximately 57–60% compared to the original parameters. Overall, this study underscores the nuanced interplay of wind speed, slope, and other factors in influencing grassfire behaviour, providing valuable insights for predictive modelling and firefighting strategies.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3390/fire6100406
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4005 Civil engineering
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords driving wings, terrain slope, surface fires, fire spread, wind conditions
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