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Fire in California's Ecosystems$
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Neil Sugihara

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246058

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246058.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Fire as a Physical Process

Fire as a Physical Process

(p.38) chapter 3 Fire as a Physical Process
Fire in California's Ecosystems

Jan W. Van Wagtendonk

University of California Press

This chapter explores fire as a physical process, including combustion, fuel characteristics, fuel models, fire weather, ignition sources, mechanisms for fire spread, and fire effects. In wildland fuels, combustion occurs in three phases: preheating, gaseous, and smoldering. Fuel is characterized by physical and chemical properties that affect combustion and fire behavior. Its characteristic classes are defined for a vegetation type and contain data for fuels in up to six strata representing potentially independent combustion environments. Fire weather includes air temperature, atmospheric moisture, atmospheric stability, and clouds and precipitation. Sufficient fuel, conducive weather, and an ignition are necessary ingredients for a fire. In line with this, this chapter investigates how these factors, combined with topography, cause a fire to spread. The chapter also introduces the physical parameters of fire behavior that affect fire severity, spotting, tree scorch height, plant mortality, biomass consumption, and microclimate.

Keywords:   combustion, fuel characteristics, fuel models, fire weather, ignition, fire spread, fire effects

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