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Forest Fires - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123866608, 9780080506746

Forest Fires

1st Edition

Behavior and Ecological Effects

Editor: Edward Johnson
Serial Editor: Kiyoko Miyanishi
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123866608
eBook ISBN: 9780080506746
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 29th January 2001
Page Count: 594
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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.

Table of Contents




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




No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2001
29th January 2001
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Edward Johnson

Edward A. Johnson is a Professor of Biological Sciences Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Calgary, Canada and up until June 2018, he was also the Director of the Biogeoscience Institute. His research interests are wildfires, avalanches, hillslope and fluvial geomorphic processes, climate, landuse, and other processes as they affect tree populations. He is particularly interested in the explicit coupling of the physical processes to ecological processes. He has over 114 publications and 4,693 total citations.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor of Biological Sciences Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Calgary, Canada

About the Serial Editor

Kiyoko Miyanishi

Kiyoko Miyanishi is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph, having retired in 2005. She has edited 2 books, written 11 book chapters and has over 30 publications and 1,200 citations.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada


@qu:"...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."
@source:—Daniel Nepstad, Woods Hole Research Center, in NATURE (January 2002)
@qu:"...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."
@source:—-Marc D. Abrams, Pennsylvania State University, School of Forest Resources, in ECOLOGY (November 2001)
@qu:"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."
@source:—-John Ogden in ANNALS OF BOTANY (2001)

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