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Factors influencing the development of violent pyroconvection. Part II: fire geometry and intensity

Author(s): Rachel Badlan, J. Sharples, Jason P. Evans, Richard H. D. McRae
Year Published: 2021

Fire spread associated with violent pyrogenic convection is highly unpredictable and difficult to suppress. Wildfire-driven convection may generate cumulonimbus (storm) clouds, also known as pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb). Research into such phenomena has tended to treat the fire on the surface and convection in the atmosphere above as separate processes. We used a numerical model to examine the effect of fire geometry on the height of a pyroconvective plume, using idealised model runs in a neutral atmosphere. The role of geometry was investigated because large areal fires have been associated with the development of pyroCb. Complementary results (detailed in Part I) are extended by considering the effect that fire shape can have on plume height by comparing circular, square, and rectangular fires of varying length and width, representing the difference between firelines and areal fires. Results reveal that the perimeter/area ratio influenced the amount of entrainment that the plume experiences and therefore the height to which the plume rises before it loses buoyancy. These results will aid in the prediction of blow-up fires (whereby a fire exhibits a rapid increase in rate of spread or rate of spread) and may therefore be useful in determining where fire agencies deploy their limited resources.

Citation: Badlan, Rachel L.; Sharples, Jason J.; Evans, Jason P.; McRae, Rick H. D. 2021. Factors influencing the development of violent pyroconvection. Part II: fire geometry and intensity. International Journal of Wildland Fire 30(7);498-512. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF20041
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Simulation Modeling, Smoke & Air Quality, Smoke Emissions
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Hot Topic(s): Fire Behavior Prediction
NRFSN number: 23357
FRAMES RCS number: 64074
Record updated: Aug 2, 2021