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Generalized Blaze Flash, a "flashover" behavior for forest fires - Analysis from the firefighter's point of view

Abstract : The phenomenon called ‘flashover’ or ‘eruptive fire’ in forest fires is characterized by a sudden change in fire behavior: everything seems to burst into flames instantly and firefighters are over-whelmed by a sort of eruption, spreading at a speed at far several meters per second. Unfortu-nately it has cost several lives in the past. The reasons for such an accident always create contro-versy in the Research field. Different theories are highlighted and especially two major axes are currently subject to discussion because they are very popular among people involved in fire-fighting. The one with regard to VOCs emissions is the best-known among firemen. Under great heat, during summer or with a fire approaching, plants emit VOCs and the more the temper-ature grows, the more the amount of VOCs emitted grows. Under specific conditions (essentially topographical, meteorological and atmospheric) the cloud of gas can accumulate in an appropriate zone. The concentration of VOCs may therefore reach the Lower Explosive Limit, triggering the burst of the cloud when in contact with the fire. The second theory depends on physical considera-tions. An example is based on a convective flow created by the fire itself. When a fire spreads on a slope, it creates an aspiration phenomenon in a way to supply the fire with oxygen. The more this phenomenon is important, the more the flames tilt and increase the rate of speed, needing even more oxygen and thus induced flow. This vicious circle can stabilize or have an erratic behavior to trigger off a fire eruption. This article presents these two theories, and especially the new advanc-es on this research subject.
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Contributor : François Joseph Chatelon <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 10:52:42 AM
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François-Joseph Chatelon, Sophie Sauvagnargues, Gilles Dusserre, Jacques Henri Balbi. Generalized Blaze Flash, a "flashover" behavior for forest fires - Analysis from the firefighter's point of view. Open Journal of Forestry, Scientific Research Publishing, 2014, 4 (5), pp.547-557. ⟨10.4236/ojf.2014.45059⟩. ⟨hal-01091764⟩

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