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Nicholas McCarthy, Hamish McGowan, Adrien Guyot, Andrew J. Dowdy, Andrew Sturgess, Ben Twomey
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Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior
Simulation Modeling

NRFSN number: 25497
FRAMES RCS number: 68074
Record updated:

Understanding bushfire-atmosphere interactions is essential for accurate prediction of fire behaviour, and for the safe and effective strategic management of fires to mitigate risk to people and property. Bushfires with feedbacks to thunderstorms represent the most extreme form of fire-atmosphere interaction, with potential to initiate tornadoes, lightning and hazardous winds causing dangerous fire behaviour and new ignitions many kilometres from the fire front. However, there is very little evidence that links quantitative fire behaviour with observed thunderstorm dynamics. Here we combine stochastic modelling of fire behaviour with satellite and mobile weather radar data of a bushfire thunderstorm in Queensland, Australia. The results show the coupling between fire behaviour and thunderstorm development in a conditionally unstable atmosphere. The process by which the coupling occurs raises questions as to the cause and effect relationship of the bushfire-initiated thunderstorms and associated fire behaviour. Recommendations for future research are made, highlighting the need for understanding links between modelled and observed fire behaviour dynamics and atmospheric thermodynamics.


McCarthy, Nicholas F.; McGowan, Hamish; Guyot, Adrien; Dowdy, Andrew; Sturgess, Andrew; Twomey, Ben. 2023. Crown fire initiation of a thunderstorm. International Journal of Wildland Fire 32(4):545-560.

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