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Calculation of critical water flow rates for wildfire suppression

Author(s): Greg Penney, Daryoush Habibi, Marcus Cattani, Murray Carter
Year Published: 2019
Description:

Predicting water suppression requirements and its impacts on firefighting strategies and logistics within the urban environment has been the subject of many previous studies, however the same level of research has yet to be applied in the realm of wildfire suppression. To work towards addressing this knowledge gap, this paper provides guidance for Incident Controllers in relation to critical water flow rates required to extinguish large wildfire across a wide range of forest fuel loads, fire weather and active fire front depths. This is achieved through mathematical empirical analysis of water flow rates required for head fire suppression during 540 simulated wildfires in forest vegetation. This research applies a fire engineering approach to wildfire suppression logistics and deterministically assess the suitability of appliance and aircraft based head fire suppression. The results highlight the limitations of offensive wildfire suppression involving direct head fire attacks by appliances once wildfires attain a quasi-steady state in forest fuels.

Citation: Penney, Greg; Habibi, Daryoush; Cattani, Marcus; Carter, Murray. 2019. Calculation of critical water flow rates for wildfire suppression. Fire 2(1):3. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire2010003
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Weather, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Naturally-ignited Fire-use treatments, Prescribed Fire-use treatments
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 19381
FRAMES RCS number: 57180
Record updated: Apr 16, 2019