A generic fuel moisture content attenuation factor for fire spread rate empirical models

Carlos G. Rossa


Aim of study: To develop a fuel moisture content (FMC) attenuation factor for empirical forest fire spread rate (ROS) models in general fire propagation conditions.

Methods: The development builds on the assumption that the main FMC-damping effect is a function of fuel ignition energy needs.

Main results: The generic FMC attenuation factor was successfully used to derive ROS models from laboratory tests (n = 282) of fire spread in no-wind and no-slope, slope-, and wind-aided conditions. The ability to incorporate the FMC attenuation factor in existing field-based ROS models for shrubland fires and grassland wildfires (n = 123) was also positively assessed.

Research highlights: Establishing a priori the FMC-effect in field fires benefits the proper assessment of the remaining variables influence, which is normally eluded by heterogeneity in fuel bed properties and correlated fuel descriptors.


fire behaviour; fire management; live and dead fuels; experimental fires; wildfires

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2018272-13175

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