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Unit 1: The Changing Fire Environment

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Environment   ::   Heat Transfer   ::   Behavior   ::   Predictions   ::   Summary   ::   Exercises


Upon completion of this unit you will be expected to:

  • State how each of the three components making up the fire environment can vary over time and space to produce changes in the behavior of a wildfire.
  • List and give examples of the three methods of heat transfer, and give three methods of mass transport of firebrands on fires.
  • Give four primary environmental factors affecting each: ignition, fire intensity, and rate of spread of wildfires.
  • Discuss the relationship of fires of differing intensities to their environments.
  • Describe the behavior of fires in standard fire behavior terminology.
  • Give four necessary input values and five output values of a fire behavior prediction model.
  • Give five reasons why the results of a fire behavior prediction model may differ from the observed fire behavior.


In this unit you will be introduced to the most important variables that affect fire behavior. You will see how the interactions of fire with its environment must influence our assessments of fire behavior. This unit will also introduce you to mathematical fire models available to help us predict fire behavior.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, September 27). Unit 1: The Changing Fire Environment. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License