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Characteristics of backfires and headfires in a pine needle fuel bed

Author(s): William R. Beaufait
Year Published: 1965

Burning characteristics of backfires, headfires, and no-wind fires in fuel beds of ponderosa pine needles were compared at the Northern Forest Fire Laboratory. Data gathered under controlled laboratory conditions indicate that fires backed into the wind (backfires) consistently burn slower, longer, and deeper than fires burned with the wind (headfires). In this investigation, increasing air velocity had a marked effect on headfires, but did not significantly change the rate of spread and other burning characteristics of backfires. Field studies are needed to establish more conclusively the differing capabilities of headfires and backfires in preparing seedbeds and planting sites.

Citation: Beaufait, William R. 1965. Characteristics of backfires and headfires in a pine needle fuel bed. Res. Note INT-RN-39. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 7 p.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Data Evaluation or Data Analysis for Fire Modeling, Fuels, Fuel Descriptions
Ecosystem(s): Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna
Document Type: Research Brief or Fact Sheet
NRFSN number: 11920
FRAMES RCS number: 13991
Record updated: Jun 14, 2018