A JFSP Fire Science Exchange Network
Bringing People Together & Sharing Knowledge in the Northern Rockies

A portable system for characterizing wildland fire behavior

Author(s): Bret W. Butler, Daniel M. Jimenez, Jason M. Forthofer, Kyle S. Shannon, Paul Sopko
Editor(s): Domingos Xavier Viegas
Year Published: 2010

A field deployable system for quantifying energy and mass transport in wildland fires is described. The system consists of two enclosures: The first is a sensor/data logger combination package that allows characterization of convective/radiant energy transport in fires. This package contains batteries, a programmable data logger, sensors, and other electronics. The standard sensors consist of radiometers that measure total and radiant energy fluxes, a small-gauge thermocouple that senses flame and air temperature, and probes that sense the magnitude and direction of airflow before, during, and after the fire passes. The second is a fire proof enclosure housing a video camera. The boxes have a double lens configuration with the exterior lens consisting of high temperature glass and the interior lens consisting of coated glass that reflects infrared radiation (heat), while allowing visible light to pass through. The cameras can either be turned on manually or can be set to trigger and record through a wireless link to the data loggers. The system has been used extensively in full scale wildland fires. Analysis of the visual video images provides an objective method for measuring flame height, flame length, flame depth, flame angle and fire rate of spread. Typically each sensor package is coupled with a video package for simultaneous recording of video and in-situ measurements allowing researchers to better evaluate fire behavior measurements relative to flame size and local spread rate. The camera images can provide estimates of flame height, depth, angle and fire rate of spread.

Citation: Butler, B. W.; Jimenez, D.; Forthofer, J.; Shannon, K.; Sopko, P. 2010. A portable system for characterizing wildland fire behavior. In: Viegas, D. X., ed. Proceedings of the VI International Conference on Forest Fire Research; 15-18 November 2010; Coimbra, Portugal. Coimbra, Portugal: University of Coimbra. 13 p.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 16928
Record updated: May 18, 2018