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  • NCN-SFPE Monthly Meeting : The Role of Particle Dynamics in Wildfire Behavior and Impacts

NCN-SFPE Monthly Meeting : The Role of Particle Dynamics in Wildfire Behavior and Impacts

  • January 20, 2023
  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
  • Holmes Fire, 235 Montgomery Street, Suite 1250, San Francisco 94104


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Please join us Friday, January 20th, 2023 for the Hybrid meeting.

12 - 12:30 check-in, lunch and networking
12:30 - 13:30 presentation and Q/A

The Role of Particle Dynamics in Wildfire Behavior and Impacts

Presentation Outline

Particle-laden flows, whether dilute or dense, play a significant role in determining wildfire behavior and impacts on the environment. For instance, the firebrand shower phenomenon, i.e., the generation and transport of firebrands (particles) away from the fire front and ignition of spot fires, is one of the major mechanisms of wildfire propagation, particularly in heterogeneous fuels. Firebrand showers cause substantial losses in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) zones and influence wildfire behavior. Another example of particle-laden flows in wildfires is the emission of combustion byproducts and particulate matter through wildfire plumes, which affect the air quality and extends the impact of wildfires to spatial scales more extensive than the fire area. Despite wildfires' complex behavior and far-reaching impacts, most coupled fire-atmosphere models and operational wildfire simulators fail to account for these processes accurately. The primary reason is due to the inherent stochasticity and complex multi-scale physics of these phenomena that increase the computational costs. In this talk, we present our approach to addressing these challenges by presenting an in-house model for simulating the turbulent dispersion of micro-particles through wildfire plumes at large spatial scales. Additionally, a singularity-free firebrand transport and deposition model will be presented. Lastly, the results of a four-way coupled model for understanding the heat transfer from firebrand accumulation will be discussed.

Dr. Ali Tohidi

Dr. Ali Tohidi is a fire and fluid dynamicist. He is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a Co-PI of the NSF-IUCRC Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center (WIRC) at San Jose State University (SJSU). His research and development interests are at the nexus of experimental, data-driven, and mathematical modeling of complex systems across a wide range of spatiotemporal scales. His current efforts focus on understanding the physics of wildfire spread and developing new models to describe fire behavior throughout the landscape.


To advance the science and practice of fire protection engineering and its allied fields, to maintain a high ethical standard among its members and to foster fire protection engineering education.



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