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Coupled influences of topography and wind on wildland fire behaviour

Linn, Rodman; Winterkamp, Judith; Edminster, Carleton; Colman, Jonah J.; Smith, William S. 2007. Coupled influences of topography and wind on wildland fire behaviour. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 16: 183-195.

Ten simulations were performed with the HIGRAD/FIRETEC wildfire behaviour model in order to explore its utility in studying wildfire behaviour in inhomogeneous topography. The goal of these simulations is to explore the potential extent of the coupling between the fire, atmosphere, and topography. The ten simulations described in this paper include five different topographies, each run with two different ambient wind speeds of 6 and 12ms-1. The five topologies explored are: an idealised hill (which serves as the base centerline for the other topographies), two variations of the hill with lateral gradients downwind from the ignition line (one sloping up from the 'hill' at the centerline to form an upward sloping canyon parallel to the ambient wind, and the other sloping down from the centerline to form a ridge parallel to the ambient flow), one with a second hill upwind of the ignition line such that the fire is ignited in the bottom of a canyon that runs perpendicular to the ambient wind, and finally a flat terrain. The four non-trivial topographies have the same profile along the centerline downwind of the ignition line to help assess the impacts of topographic gradients that are perpendicular to the ambient wind. It is hoped that analysis of these simulations will help reveal where point-functional models are sufficient, where topographically modified wind fields are needed, and where fully coupled fire and transport models are necessary to properly describe wildfire behaviour.

Keywords: fire propagation, FIRETEC, slope effects

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Coupled influences of topography and wind on wildland fire behaviour
Electronic Publish Date: October 29, 2009
Last Update:
October 29, 2009

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