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Biomass Properties and Fire Prediction Tools (epub)

Biomass Properties and Fire Prediction Tools

     Wildland fires are natural calamities that bring enormous environmental and economic damage worldwide and some of them cause human death. Achieving effective fire fighting is associated with the possibilities of predicting the characteristics of fire behaviour. Special attention needs to be drawn to meteorological conditions and their effect on fire spread in a bed of vegetation. On the other hand, studying the effect of forest fires on the environment is of equal significance for building the strategy and specific actions to be undertaken in the fire fighting process. Especially, Mediterranean climate countries are subjected to higher risks of fires and all the damage they involve.

     This ebook presents a review on related literature involving main characteristics and fire behaviour prediction models for surface fire and especially for pine litter species. The first part of this section presents experimental data for various characteristics of pine needle species, and also results from laboratory observations and studies for fire behaviour in a vegetation layer comprising above species. The second part gives consideration to various types of models used to predict the behaviour of surface fires. Also presented are basic approaches employed in describing the processes involved in the heating up, ignition and burning of the vegetation, and also the effect of these processes on the parameters of the flow in the fire zone. Data for model verification are also presented.

Three components should be simultaneously available in order for a forest fire to occur: fuel (forest vegetation), oxygen and a heat source.

Fuels in the forest can be divided into four heights (Missbach, 1982):

  • Vegetation of a height of above 2 meters,
  • Shrubs and low-height trees up to 2 meters high that are most commonly encountered in the Mediterranean region. Major representatives of these species are various shrubs and grasslands;
  • A layer of dry grass and tree leaves litter;
  • Soil cover bed. 
Fires occurring in the last three groups are considered surface fires.

Experiments carried out to examine the vegetation’s susceptibility to ignition and the behaviour of the different types of vegetation as a fuel bed resulted in final output and obtained values for the so called fuel particle characteristics. The latter are among the basic data used to design the fuel models.

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