Jacques Henri Balbi, François Joseph Chatelon, D. Morvan, Jean Louis Rossi, Thierry Marcelli, Frederic Morandini
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Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior

NRFSN number: 21754
Record updated: September 3, 2020

The ‘Balbi model’ is a simplified steady-state physical propagation model for surface fires that considers radiative heat transfer from the surface area of burning fuel particles as well as from the flame body. In this work, a completely new version of this propagation model for wildand fires is proposed. Even if, in the present work, this model is confined to laboratory experiments, its purpose is to be used at a larger scale in the field under operational conditions. This model was constructed from a radiative propagation model with the addition of a convective heat transfer term resulting from the impingement of packets of hot reacting gases on unburnt fuel elements located at the base of the flame. The flame inside the fuel bed is seen as the ‘fingers of fire’ described in the literature. The proposed model is physics-based, faster than real time and fully predictive, which means that model parameters do not change from one experiment to another. The predicted rate of spread is applied to a large set of laboratory experiments (through homogeneous pine needles and excelsior fuel beds) and is compared with the predictions of both a very simple empirical model (Catchpole) and a detailed physical model (FireStar2D).


Balbi JH, Chatelon FJ, Morvan D, Rossi JL, Marcelli T, and Morandini F. 2020. A convective–radiative propagation model for wildland fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire 29(8): 723-738.

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