Skip to main content
Sara S. McAllister, Mark A. Finney
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior
Fire Prediction

NRFSN number: 15781
Record updated:

Many wildland fire models assume radiation heat transfer controls fuel particle ignition. However, evidence suggests that radiation is insufficient to ignite the predominantly small, thin fuel particles in wildlands and that convective heating by flame contact is a critical component. Here, convective ignition was studied using an apparatus containing two 6.5kW electrical heaters to heat air from 600°C to 800°C. Steel screens straightened the flow and provided background radiant heat. This apparatus produced autoignition of dry red oak cylinders and disks. Cylinder diameter was varied from 0.64 to 1.91cm and length from 2.5 to 7.5cm. Disk diameters varied from 2.54 to 5.08cm and 1 to 4mm thick. The airflow rate varied slightly from 1.55 to 1.71m/s due to the density difference. A simplified analytical model was developed that predicted the measured times reasonably well for air temperatures of 700°C and above.


McAllister SS, Finney MA. 2017. Autoignition of wood under combined convective and radiative heating. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 36 (2 ), p 3073-3080. DOI 10.1016/j.proci.2016.06.110

Access this Document


publication access with no paywall

Check to see if this document is available for free in the USDA Forest Service Treesearch collection of publications. The collection includes peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, books, conference proceedings, and reports produced by Forest Service employees, as well as science synthesis publications and other products from Forest Service Research Stations.