Forest Fires book cover

Forest Fires

Behavior and Ecological Effects

Even before the myth of Prometheus, fire played a crucial ecological role around the world. Numerous plant communities depend on fire to generate species diversity in both time and space. Without fire such ecosystems would become sterile monocultures. Recent efforts to prohibit fire in fire dependent communities have contributed to more intense and more damaging fires. For these reasons, foresters, ecologists, land managers, geographers, and environmental scientists are interested in the behavior and ecological effects of fires. This book will be the first to focus on the chemistry and physics of fire as it relates to the ways in which fire behaves and the impacts it has on ecosystem function. Leading international contributors have been recruited by the editors to prepare a didactic text/reference that will appeal to both advanced students and practicing professionals.

Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, researchers and policy makers in forestry, ecology, geography, plant sciences, environmental sciences, and land management.

Hardbound, 594 Pages

Published: January 2001

Imprint: Academic Press

ISBN: 978-0-12-386660-8


  • "...a rich summary of our current knowledge of several important aspects of forest fire science, from fuel dynamics to coupled atmosphere-fire modelling. ...The book's strength is as a state-of-the-art review of research on pyrolysis, flames, lightening, fuel-moisture dynamics, smoke, combustion chemistry, and more. ...My fire science students and colleagues use Forest Fires as a reference."
    —Daniel Nepstad, Woods Hole Research Center, in NATURE (January 2002)

    "...a primary strength of this book is that you can find a larger number of state-of-the-art fire behavior and combustion topics covered in a single source. ...the book is an unmitigated success...a very strong book that will benefit most scientists interested in fire, including ecologists. ...Overall, I compliment the editors and authors for a job well done."
    —-Marc D. Abrams, Pennsylvania State University, School of Forest Resources, in ECOLOGY (November 2001)
    "This book is authoritative, well written and abundantly referenced. ...a valuable resource on all the topics covered and is likely to remain so for many years. ...It is a book that researchers in fire ecology should be aware of and have access to."
    —-John Ogden in ANNALS OF BOTANY (2001)


  • Contributors



    1 Strengthening Fire Ecology's Roots

    I. Introduction

    II. Processes

    III. Transfer Rates and Budgets

    IV. Examples of Traditional vs. Proposed Approach


    2 Flames

    I. Introduction

    II. Basic Aspects of Combustion in Forest Fires

    III. Temperature, Velocity, Species Concentration, and Flame Height

    IV Premixed and Diffusion Flames

    V. Extinction of Diffusion Flames

    VI. Diffusion Flames and Scaling Analysis

    VII. Spreading Flames

    VIII. Structure of Flame Base

    IX. Conclusions



    3 Combustion Chemistry and Smoke

    I. Introduction

    II. Fuel Chemistry and Combustion

    III. Smoke Production

    IV. Minimizing Smoke Production

    V. Conclusions


    4 Water Relations of Forest Fuels

    I. Introduction

    II. Forest Fuels

    III. Fuel Moisture Relationships

    IV. Moisture Content Estimation


    Additional Reading


    5 Wildland Fire Spread Models

    I. Introduction

    II. Head Fire Rate of Spread (Physical Principles and their Mathematical Embodiment)

    III. Head Fire Rate of Spread: Australia

    IV. Head Fire Rate of Spread: United States

    V. Head Fire Rate of Spread: Canada

    VI. Smoldering

    VII. Whole Fire Modeling-Fire Shape



    6 Wind-Aided Fire Spread

    I. Introduction

    II. Laboratory-Scale Setup

    III. Fire Spread Model

    IV. Preliminary Testing of the Model

    V. Test Results for the Effect of Wind Speed and Fuel Loading on the Rate of Fire Spread

    VI. Conclusions


    Recommended Reading


    7 Fire Plumes

    I. Introduction

    II. Modeling Fire Temperature Maxima

    III. Plumes above Fires in a Cross Wind



    8 Coupling Atmospheric and Fire Models

    I. Introduction

    II. Vorticity Dynamics in a Fire

    III. Coupling between Atmosphere and Fire

    IV. The Elements of Fire Modeling

    V. Modeling the Atmosphere

    VI. The Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Modeling Approach

    VII. Idealized Studies of Wildfire Behavior

    VIII. Infrared Observations of Fires

    IX. Conclusions and Future Work

    Appendix I. Circulation and Vorticity

    Appendix II. Development of Vertical Rotation in a Frictionless Fluid

    Appendix III. Generation of Vertical Motion in Rotating Convective Cells



    9 Surface Energy Budget and Fuel Moisture

    I. Introduction

    II. Evapotranspiration Processes and the Meteorological Controlling Factors

    III. Estimation of Potential Evapotranspiration Rates

    IV. Functional Dependence of PET and AET

    V. Characteristics of PET

    VI. Near-Surface Environment

    VII. Models of Land-Surface Interactions

    VIII. Remote Sensing of the Surface Energy Budget

    IX. Fire Weather Rating Systems


    Suggested Reading List


    10 Climate, Weather, and Area Burned

    I. Introduction

    II. Weather and Area Burned-Synoptic Surface Features

    III. Weather and Area Burned-Upper Air Features

    IV. Teleconnections

    V. Future Warming and Area Burned

    VI. Summary


    11 Lightning and Forest Fires

    I. Introduction

    II. Lightning

    III. Previous Studies of Lightning-Initiated Fire

    IV. Interaction between Lightning and Fuels

    V. How Ignition Occurs

    VI. Ignition Experiments with Real Forest Fuels

    VII. Generating Models for Operational Use

    VIII. Smoke, Lightning, and Cloud Microphysics

    IX. Global Implications of Lightning Ignition Characteristics

    X. Conclusion


    12 Statistical Inference for Historical Fire Frequency Using the Spatial Mosaic

    I. Introduction

    II. Graphical Analysis

    III. Statistical Inference with Prespecified Change Points

    IV. The Efficiency of Sample vs. Map Data

    V. Determining Epochs of Constant Fire Frequency


    13 Duff Consumption

    I. Introduction

    II. Characteristics of Duff

    III. Empirical Studies of Duff Consumption

    IV. Flaming Combustion

    V. Smoldering Combustion and Pyrolysis

    VI. Models of Smoldering Combustion

    VII. Contribution of Smoldering Combustion Models to Understanding of Duff Consumption



    14 Fire Effects on Trees

    I. Introduction

    II. Effects of Fire on the Tree Bole

    III. Effects of Fire on Canopy Components

    IV. Root Necrosis

    V. Tree Mortality

    VI. Discussion


    Additional Readings


    15 Forest Fire Management

    I. Introduction

    II. The Relationship between Fire and Forest Land Management Objectives

    III. Assessing Fire Impacts

    IV. Forest Fire Management Organizations

    V. Level of Fire Protection Planning

    VI. Some Challenges

    Further Reading




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