Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Figueroa, S., Rivera, J..D. & Jahn, W. (2019)

Influence of Permeability on the Rate of Fire Spread over Natural and Artificial Pinus Radiata Forest Litters

Revista : Fire Technology
Páginas : 1-19
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The rate of fire spread is of paramount interest in order to prevent andcontrol wildland fires. It has been extensively studied under laboratory conditions, but little research has been made regarding the differences between artificially constructed and natural litter. By using a specially designed sampling method, in this study differences in the rate of spread between natural and constructed pine needle litter samples are assessed using a combustion tunnel with controlled wind speed. A total of 68 experiments were conducted with four levels of wind speed and six levels of permeability (five for constructed samples and one for thenatural sample). It was found that permeability has a strong influence on the rate of spread when wind speeds are high (2.1 – 3.6 m·s −1 ). It was also found that while wind speed and permeability have a strong influence on the rate of spread, their combined effect is not significant. Thus, both variables may be treated independently from one another. Lastly, it was found that constructed samples with permeability of 1 · 10 −7 m 2 behave similarly to natural samples in terms of the rate of spread. This suggests that it is possible to use constructed samples inthe laboratory by matching their permeability, and thus obtain realistic values for the rate of fire spread. This could be of use for medium and large scale laboratory tests, where it is not possible to use undisturbed litter samples.