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More Realistic Model of Tree Trunk Heating and Injury in Wildland Fires Now Available

Photo of  The WFDS model was used to simulate the interaction between flame and stem and is being used to provide input data for a stem heating model (FireStem2D). Tony Bova, USDA Forest Service The WFDS model was used to simulate the interaction between flame and stem and is being used to provide input data for a stem heating model (FireStem2D). Tony Bova, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists developed new models of tree-stem heating that are the most physically realistic to date to predict tree mortality more accurately. Trees stems are heated unevenly in wildland fires because a standing-leeward flame develops as a result of the interaction of the bole and flame. Forest Service fire scientists and their research partners used the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Dynamics Simulator to describe uneven heating of the stem surface and the newly revised FireStem2D to simulate the resulting stem heating and injury.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Dickinson, Matthew B.  
Research Location : Ohio
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 477

Summary

Forest Service fire scientists and partners have developed fire and stem-heating models that predict tree stem heating and injury from spreading flame fronts. Tree trunks, unless they are small, are not heated evenly in surface fires. Instead, the trunk separates the flow of flames and wind, causing an eddy and standing leeward flame. These scientists are using a sophisticated fire model---the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fire Dynamics Simulator---to describe the interaction of flame and tree stem and generate input data for a stem injury model. In turn, FireStem2D inputs stem-surface-heating information and tree characteristics and predicts temperature rise in the bark and wood around the circumference of the trunk and the tissue injury that results. The development and linking of WUI Fire Dynamics Simulator and FireStem2D for tree injury prediction is part of a larger effort to build a sophisticated next-generation fire effects model based on a strong foundation in the biophysical processes involved.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Bret W. Butler, Rocky Mountain RS, Missoula, MT
  • Ruddy Mell, Pacific Northwest RS, Seattle, WA
  • Gil Bohrer, Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Tony Bova, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

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