Fires in the wildland and in wildland urban interface (WUI) communities are a significant problem in today’s society. These fires have massive economic impacts both in the structural loss, affecting businesses and households, and the cost of fire suppression and re-forestation. Fire spread by ember production is considered a major factor in wildland and WUI fires.
This research project will investigate fire ember production from burning wildland and structural (construction materials) fuels in the wildland and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). This will address spot fires caused by wind-blown burning embers (also called firebrands) that are a significant mechanism of fire spread in the wildland and WUI.
Project goal: This purpose of the project is to investigate fire ember production from wildland and structural (construction materials) fuels in the wildland and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). Specific objectives include the following:
- Determine the basic thermal decomposition and combustion properties (at small scale) of selected fuels under a range of heating rate, radiant heat flux, and moisture content (MC) levels.
- Determine the production rate, mass, shape and dimensions of embers (at full-scale) from burning wildland and structural fuels under a range of wind, radiant heat flux, and MC levels.
- Determine the travel distance of embers as a function of mass, shape and dimensions (at full-scale) under a range of wind speed and radiant heat flux levels.
- Determine the burning duration and intensity of embers as a function of mass and shape (at small and intermediate scales) under a range of wind, radiant heat flux, and MC levels.
Download the project summary. (PDF)
Sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), the “Fire Ember Production from Wildland and Structural Fuels” project brings together researchers from seven institutions. Aixi Zhou, an associate professor in the Fire Safety Engineering Technology Department in the Lee College of Engineering, is the principal investigator on the project.