Bret W. Butler
5775 Hwy 10 W
Missoula, MT 59808
My current research focuses on the develop of new understanding into the fundamental physics governing wildland fire ignition, spread and intensity, along with improved methods for quantifying wildland fire intensity using in-situ instrumentation.
My primary research interests include the development of tools for simulating wind flow at fine resolution, fire induced tree mortality, and improvement of existing firefighter safety zone guidelines.
Wildland fire is a complex process that involves biology, chemistry, fluid dynamics and energy transfer. It is an everpresent phenomena in many natural ecosystems. Advances in our understanding of the fundamental physics governing fire facilitate improved methods and tools for managing fire safely and effectively.
Why This Research is Important
I developed the current Firefighter safety zone standards. I was the lead scientist on the development of the WindWizard and WindNinja wind modeling systems. I was the lead scientist for the development of the FireStem tree mortality simulation model.
- Brigham Young University, BS Mechanical Engineering, 1986
- Brigham Young University, MS Mechanical Engineering, 1988
- Brigham Young University, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on energy transport in particle-laden flames., 1992
Featured Publications & Products
- Butler, Bret W.; Dickinson, Matthew B. 2010. Tree injury and mortality in fires: developing process-based models.
- Frankman, David; Webb, Brent W.; Butler, Bret W.; Latham, Don J. 2010. Fine fuel heating by radiant flux.
- Pickett, Brent M.; Isackson, Carl; Wunder, Rebecca; Fletcher, Thomas H.; Butler, Bret W.; Weise, David R. 2009. Flame interactions and burning characteristics of two live leaf samples.
- Butler, Bret W.; Cook, Wayne. 2007. The fire environment--innovations, management, and policy; conference proceedings.
Publications & Products
- Forthofer, Jason M.; Butler, Bret W.; Wagenbrenner, Natalie S. 2014. A comparison of three approaches for simulating fine-scale surface winds in support of wildland fire management: Part I. Model formulation and comparison against measurements.
- Mueller, Eric; Skowronski, Nicholas; Simeoni, Albert; Clark, Kenneth; Kremens, Robert; Mell, William; Gallagher, Michael; Thomas, Jan; Filkov, Alexander; Houssami, Mohamad El; Hom, John; Butler, Bret. 2014. Fuel treatment effectiveness in reducing fire intensity and spread rate - An experimental overview.
- Butler, B. W. 2014. Wildland firefighter safety zones: A review of past science and summary of future needs.
- Butler, B.W.; Ottmar, R.D.; Rupp, T.S.; Jandt, R.; Miller, E.; Howard, K.; Schmoll, R.; Theisen, S.; Vihnanek, R.E.; Jimenez, D. 2013. Quantifying the effect of fuel reduction treatments on fire behavior in boreal forests.
- Jolly, W. Matt; Parsons, Russell; Varner, J. Morgan; Butler, Bret W.; Ryan, Kevin C.; Gucker, Corey L. 2012. Do mountain pine beetle outbreaks change the probability of active crown fire in lodgepole pine forests?.
- Nelson, Ralph M., Jr..; Butler, Bret W.; Weise, David R. 2012. Entrainment regimes and flame characteristics of wildland fires.
- Frankman, David; Webb, Brent W.; Butler, Bret W.; Jimenez, Daniel; Forthofer, Jason M.; Sopko, Paul; Shannon, Kyle S.; Hiers, J. Kevin; Ottmar, Roger D. 2012. Measurements of convective and radiative heating in wildland fires.
- Frankman, David; Webb, Brent W.; Butler, Bret W.; Jimenez, Daniel; Harrington, Michael. 2012. The effect of sampling rate on interpretation of the temporal characteristics of radiative and convective heating in wildland flames.
- Cruz, Miguel G.; Butler, Bret W.; Viegas, Domingos X.; Palheiro, Pedro. 2011. Characterization of flame radiosity in shrubland fires.
- Butler, Bret; Jimenez, D.; Forthofer, J.; Shannon, K.; Sopko, Paul. 2010. A portable system for characterizing wildland fire behavior.
- Butler, Bret. 2010. Characterization of convective heating in full scale wildland fires.
- Butler, Bret; Forthofer, Jason. 2010. Firefighter Safety Zone: The effect of terrain slope of separation distance.
- Butler, Bret; Jimenez, D.; Forthofer, J.; Sopko, Paul; Shannon, K.; Reardon, Jim. 2010. In-situ characterization of wildland fire behavior.
- Forthofer, J.; Shannon, K.; Butler, Bret. 2010. Initialization of high resolution surface wind simulations using NWS gridded data.
- Forthofer, J.; Butler, Bret. 2010. Large scale fire whirls: Can their formation be predicted?.
- Butler, Bret; Forthofer, J.; Shannon, K.; Jimenez, D.; Frankman, D. 2010. The effect of terrain slope on firefighter safety zone effectiveness.
- Butler, Bret. 2009. Efforts to update firefighter safety zone guidelines.
- Jimenez, D.; Butler, B.; Hiers, K.; Ottmar, R.; Dickenson, M.; Kremens, R.; O’Brien, J.; Hudak, A.; Clements, C. 2009. Rx-CADRE (Prescribed Fire Combustion-Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiments) collaborative research in the core fire sciences.
- Frankman, D.; Webb, B. W.; Butler, B. W. 2008. Influence of absorption by environmental water vapor on radiation transfer in wildland fires.
- Forthofer, Jason; Butler, Bret. 2007. Differences in simulated fire spread over Askervein Hill using two advanced wind models and a traditional uniform wind field.
- Jimenez, Dan; Forthofer, Jason; Reardon, James; Butler, Bret. 2007. Fire behavior sensor package remote trigger design.
- Frankman, David; Webb, Brent W.; Butler, Bret W. 2007. Influence of radiation absorption by environmental water vapor on radiation transfer in wildland fires.
- Cook, Wayne; Butler, Bret W. 2007. Introduction-2nd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference: The fire environment-innovations, management, and policy.
- Andrews, Patricia L.; Butler, Bret W. 2006. Fuels Management-How to Measure Success: Conference Proceedings.
- Butler, Bret W.; Finney, Mark; Bradshaw, Larry; Forthofer, Jason; McHugh, Chuck; Stratton, Rick; Jimenez, Dan. 2006. WindWizard: A New Tool for Fire Management Decision Support.
- Weise, David R.; Fletcher, Thomas; Baxter, Larry; Mahalingam, Shankar; Zhou, Xiangyang; Pagni, Patrick; Linn, Rod; Butler, Bret. 2004. A fundamental look at fire spread in California chaparral.
- Cohen, Jack D.; Butler, Bret W. 1998. Modeling potential structure ignitions from flame radiation exposure with implications for wildland/urban interface fire management.
- Butler, Bret W.; Bartlette, Roberta A.; Bradshaw, Larry S.; Cohen, Jack D.; Andrews, Patricia L.; Putnam, Ted; Mangan, Richard J. 1998. fire behavior associated with the 1994 South Canyon fire on Storm King Mountain, Colorado.
- Butler, Bret W.; Reynolds, Timothy D. 1997. Wildfire case study: Butte City Fire, southeastern Idaho, July 1, 1994.