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Sara S. McAllister, Torben Grumstrup
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Fire Behavior
Fire & Fuels Modeling

NRFSN number: 26142
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There is a dire need to improve our prediction capabilities of wildland fire behavior in a range of conditions from marginal burning to the most extreme. In order to develop a more physically-based operational wildland fire behavior model, we need to improve our understanding of the effect of ventilation on burning rate of fuel beds. In this work, wood cribs are used as a simplified fuel bed. A variety of crib designs were tested with stick sizes ranging from 0.32 cm to 1.27 cm and porosities ranging from densely packed to loosely packed. A pressurized box was built that allowed for a controlled flow rate of air through the cribs from 100 LPM to 1000 LPM. The mass loss rates with forced ventilation were compared to tests conducted outside of the box under unrestricted quiescent conditions. For the flow rates tested here, the burning rate was generally observed to increase with flow. The amount of air naturally induced into a crib while burning was deduced to be best related to the vent area and the square root of the stick spacing (Avs1/2). It was seen that the air-to-fuel ratio inside a fuel bed burning in quiescent conditions is approximately 1.11, indicating that over 75% of the air required to completely combust the pyrolysis gases is entrained in the plume. When the supplied air is less than the amount normally entrained in ambient burning, the crib is under-ventilated and the proportional reduction in the burning rate does not seem to depend on the crib characteristics. When the crib is over-ventilated, however, the relative increase in the burning rate does vary with crib design. Simple physical arguments were used to correlate the data. Future work will include testing at higher flow rates, different moisture contents, and with cribs built with multiple stick thicknesses.


McAllister S, and Grumstrup T. 2023. Burning Rate of Wood Cribs with Controlled Airflow. Fire Technology 59(6): 20 p.

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