Ecological - Second Order
Sutherland et al. (2020) used simulations from a physics-based numerical fire behaviour model to investigate the effect of the ignition protocol (namely length, direction and rate of ignition) on the spread rates measured in experimental fires. They concluded that the methods used by Cruz et al. (2015) were inadequate as the fires were not spreading at the pseudo-steady state when rate of spread measurements were made, thereby raising questions about the validity of several published experimental and modelling results. Fire spread measurement data from three different outdoor experimental burning studies conducted in grass fuels are used to show that, contrary to the claims of Sutherland et al. (2020), the fire behaviour data collected in Cruz et al. (2015) were from fires spreading in the pseudo-steady-state regime and thus are compatible with data from larger experimental plots. A discussion is presented addressing why Sutherland et al. (2020) simulations were unable to replicate real-world data.