Although the modelling of the spreading of a forest fire has made considerable progress recently, there remains a lack of reliable field measurements of thermodynamic quantities. We propose in this paper a method and a set of measuring structures built in order to improve the knowledge on the fundamental physical mechanisms that control the propagation of wildland fires. These experimental apparatus are designed to determine: the fire front shape, its rate of spread, the amount of energy impinging ahead of it, the vertical distribution of the temperature within the fire plume as well as the wind velocity and direction. The methodology proposed was applied to a fire spreading across the Corsican scrub on a test site.The recorded data allowed us to reconstruct the fire behaviour and provide its main properties. Wind and vegetation effects on fire behaviour were particularly addressed.
One of the objectives of the present study is to gain a deeper understanding of the heat transfer mechanisms that control the spread of wildfires. Five experimental fires were conducted in the field across plots of living vegetation. This study focussed on characterising heat transfer ahead of the flame front. The temperature and heat flux were measured at the top of the vegetation as the fire spread. The results showed the existence of two different fire spread regimes that were either dominated by radiation or governed by mixed radiant–convective heat transfer. For plume‐dominated fires, the flow strongly responds to the great buoyancy forces generated by the fire; this guides the fire plume upward. For wind‐driven fires, the flow is governed by inertial forces due to the wind, and the fire plume is greatly tilted towards unburned vegetation. The correlations of the temperature (ahead of the flame front) and wind velocity fluctuations change according to the fire regime. The longitudinal distributions of the radiant heat flux ahead of the fire front are also discussed. The data showed that neither the convective Froude number nor the Nelson convection number – used in the literature to predict fire spread regimes – reflect the observed behaviour of wind‐driven fires.
Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) may offer the opportunity to eliminate most of the extension cables and wires in digital systems, allowing operation far from any infrastructure. This opportunity coincides with a great increase in cost-effectiveness in an overall fire detection and monitoring system for forests, buildings or industrial sites. Our purpose is to evaluate this opportunity. After presenting the three main technologies for wireless communications to non experts, we retained the Zigbee protocol for this study. We then investigated whether the use of a WSN with this protocol is valuable for measuring heat quantities during a fire spreading over a vegetation fuel bed. Experiments are performed under both lab scale indoor and real outdoor conditions. The method consists of comparing temperatures and radiant heat fluxes gained with the wireless technology with those recorded at the same location through a wired data acquisition system. Delays due to the wireless radio communications are identified and explained. We also observe information loss for measurements performed in the fire front. Finally, we highlight that fires can be detected satisfactorily by WSN equipment in indoor and outdoor conditions. However, we also show that measurement accuracy obtained from wired systems cannot be obtained with the present wireless technology, and we do not recommend their use at the present time for fire monitoring and mitigation.
A fire spread experiment was conducted in the field under wind-blown conditions. The study area was located in south Corsica (France). The fuel consists in tall and dense Mediterranean shrub vegetation. The plot area was about 30 m wide and 80 m long. The fire spread experiment was made using a point ignition. This experiment was conducted not only in order to increase the knowledge and understanding of the fire behaviour in the field but to provide data for the validation of physics based models of fire spread too. In particular, the effects of wind on the geometric and thermal properties of the flame front in the field are investigated. The flame temperature along the vertical direction and the radiation emitted ahead of the flame front, were measured. The methodology employed in this experiment and some quantitative measurements of wind velocity and direction, flame geometric properties, are also presented and discussed.
The paper deals with a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) as a reliable solution for capturing the kinematics of a fire front spreading over a fuel bed. To provide reliable information in fire studies and support fire fighting strategies, a Wireless Sensor Network must be able to perform three sequential actions: 1) sensing thermal data in the open as the gas temperature; 2) detecting a fire i.e., the spatial position of a flame; 3) tracking the fire spread during its spatial and temporal evolution. One of the great challenges in performing fire front tracking with a WSN is to avoid the destruction of motes by the fire. This paper therefore shows the performance of Wireless Sensor Network when the motes are protected with a thermal insulation dedicated to track a fire spreading across vegetative fuels on a field scale. The resulting experimental WSN is then used in series of wildfire experiments performed in the open in vegetation areas ranging in size from 50 to 1,000 m2.
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