Sara S. McAllister
Research Mechanical Engineer
5775 Highway 10 West
Contact Sara S. McAllister
My current research has focused on understanding the ignition behavior of woody material, including ignition criteria and the effect of fuel and environment variables.
My research interests include understanding fundamental combustion and heat transfer processes related to the spread of wildfires. In particular, I have two main research projects. The first is to better understand the ignition process in both live and dead fuels subject to different forms of heat transfer. The second is to examine how the burning behavior of a fuel bed is affected by its characteristics and environmental conditions.
In the past, I've examined the ignition criteria of wood for variations with external heat flux, oxidizer flow velocity, and moisture content. I have also examined the effect of ambient pressure and oxygen concentration on the ignition behavior of polymers.
Why This Research is Important
This research is important because new models and understanding of fire spread cannot be attained without a clearer picture of the underlying processes. In particular, these fundamentals are vital to understand and predict crown fire behavior. Crown fires can be both dangerous and damaging, and no satisfactory tool exists to explain and predict them. A better understanding of crown fires can thus benefit everyone at all levels in the wildfire community.
- University of Nevada, Reno, B.S. Mechanical Engineering 2004
- University of California, Berkeley, M.S. Mechanical Engineering 2006
- University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering 2008
- International Association of Wildland Fire (2013 - Current)
- International Association of Fire Safety Science (2011 - Current)
- Combustion Institute (2007 - Current)
Awards & Recognition
- International Association of Wildland Fire Early Career Award, 2019
This award is to recognize a promising early-career professional who has demonstrated outstanding ability in any field of wildland fire science.
Featured Publications & Products
- Manzello, Samuel L.; McAllister, Sara ; Suzuki, Sayaka . 2018. Large outdoor fires and the built environment: Objectives and goals of permanent IAFSS working Group.
- McAllister, S.; Weise, D. R. 2017. Effects of season on ignition of live wildland fuels using the forced ignition and flame spread test apparatus.
- McAllister, Sara; Finney, Mark. 2016. The effect of wind on burning rate of wood cribs.
- McAllister, Sara; Finney, Mark. 2016. Burning rates of wood cribs with implications for wildland fires.
- McAllister, S.; Grenfell, I.; Hadlow, A.; Jolly, W. M.; Finney, M.; Cohen, J. 2012. Piloted ignition of live forest fuels.
- Finney, Mark A.; Cohen, Jack D.; McAllister, Sara S.; Jolly, W. Matt. 2012. On the need for a theory of wildland fire spread.
- Weise, David R.; Fletcher, Thomas H.; Johnson, Timothy J.; Hao, WeiMin ; Dietenberger, Mark ; Princevac, Marko ; Butler, Bret ; McAllister, Sara ; O’Brien, Joseph ; Loudermilk, Louise ; Ottmar, Roger ; Hudak, Andrew ; Kato, Akira ; Shotorban, Babak ; Mahalingam, Shankar ; Mell, William E. 2018. A project to measure and model pyrolysis to improve prediction of prescribed fire behavior.
- Miller, Colin H.; Tang, Wei ; Sluder, Evan ; Finney, Mark A.; McAllister, Sara S.; Forthofer, Jason M.; Gollner, Michael J. 2018. Boundary layer instabilities in mixed convection and diffusion flames with an unheated starting length.
- Gustenyov, Nikolay ; Akafuah, Nelson K.; Salaimeh, Ahmad ; Finney, Mark ; McAllister, Sara ; Saito, Kozo . 2018. Scaling nonreactive cross flow over a heated plate to simulate forest fires.
- Manzello, Samuel L.; Blanchi, Raphaele ; Gollner, Michael J.; Gorham, Daniel ; McAllister, Sara ; Pastor, Elsa ; Planas, Eulalia ; Reszka, Pedro ; Suzuki, Sayaka . 2018. Summary of workshop large outdoor fires and the built environment.
- Anand, C.; Shotorban, B.; Mahalingam, S.; McAllister, S.; Weise, D. R. 2017. Physics-based modeling of live wildland fuel ignition experiments in the Forced Ignition and Flame Spread Test apparatus.
- Grumstrup, Torben P.; McAllister, Sara S.; Finney, Mark A. 2017. Qualitative flow visualization of flame attachment on slopes.
- Werth, Paul A.; Potter, Brian E.; Alexander, Martin E.; Clements, Craig B.; Cruz, Miguel G.; Finney, Mark A.; Forthofer, Jason M.; Goodrick, Scott L.; Hoffman, Chad; Jolly, W. Matt; McAllister, Sara S.; Ottmar, Roger D.; Parsons, Russell A. 2016. Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: volume 2 for fire behavior specialists, researchers, and meteorologists.
- Finney, Mark A.; Cohen, Jack D.; Forthofer, Jason M.; McAllister, Sara S.; Gollner, Michael J.; Gorham, Daniel J.; Saito, Kozo; Akafuah, Nelson K.; Adam, Brittany A.; English, Justin D. 2015. Role of buoyant flame dynamics in wildfire spread.
- Finney, Mark A.; Maynard, Trevor B.; McAllister, Sara S.; Grob, Ian J. 2013. A study of ignition by rifle bullets.
- Maynard, Trevor; Finney, Mark; McAllister, Sara; Grob, Ian. 2013. Ignition potential of rifle bullets.
- McAllister, S.; Finney, M.; Cohen, J. 2011. Critical mass flux for flaming ignition of wood as a function of external radiant heat flux and moisture content.