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How Fires Spread: Study Brings New Insight

fire test 500

LEXINGTON, Ky. (8/23/13) – University of Kentucky researchers are helping to gain insight into how fire spreads, knowledge that could help forestry officials develop more effective strategies for containing wildfires.

These cardboard forests were then burned in the wind tunnel at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, under varying wind speeds. An array of 64 thermocouple sensors recorded temperatures throughout the fuel bed, taking 500 readings per second as the flames spread. The thermocouples recorded a fluctuating flame presence, creating a temperature that alternated from near-ambient temperature to more than 1,200 deg. C. (2,192 deg. F.) several times per second.

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U.S. forestry officials say that, despite the advanced computer models used in fire management, the physical processes responsible for flame spread are poorly understood. This research suggests a completely new approach to understanding and modeling fire spread, and creates new opportunities for developing models that can be used for fire-management applications.
 
The team's findings were presented at the Seventh International Symposium on Scale Modeling, held Aug. 6-9, in Hirosaki, Japan.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Keith Hautala

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