USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

400 N 34th Street, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 732-7800

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United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamics Simulator (WFDS)

Field Experiments

To determine the potential exposure of structures, vegetation, and firefighters to heat flux, embers, and smoke

One of the most difficult and expensive part of developing a physics-based fire model is obtaining the basic data about fuels, winds, and ignition patterns, along with the heat generated at different places in the fire as it moves across the burn area.

Large projects, often called campaigns because of their complexity, involve a wide variety of cooperators -- research organizers, incident command teams, prescribed burn crews, scientists, field data collection teams, meteorologists, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and more.

Smaller projects are often organized to test field data collection methods. They also provide trial runs for scientists who must collaborate closely when collecting data. Valuable data is gathered in these smaller burns, but their greatest value lies in increasing the likeihood of success of large burns in the future.

Past Field Data Collection Efforts

(November 2012)
  • Three large burns
  • Two sets of smaller replicate burns, 3 units each
  • Grass and forest fuels
  • Planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, towers, anemomenters, weather station, video cameras, coordination with satellites, fire behavior packages, fuels data collection,



Joint Base Lewis-McChord (September 2012)
  • Three small replicate burns
  • Test use of boom lift for capturing infrared video
  • Developed coordination between deployment of fire behavior packages, anemomenters, and fuel moisture collection.
  • Worked out methods to coordinate scientists and burners with one another to obtain the correct lighting patterns


Potential Future Experimental Burns

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (September 2013)

To learn more about field data collection activities:

A Case Study of the Communitied Affect By the Witch and Guejito Case Fires (2009)





We acknowledge funding from the Joint Fire Science Program under Project 07-1-5-08 and 11-2-1-11


Team Lead: Ruddy Mell

U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:38 CST

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