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Modelling the fire propagation from the fuel bed to the lower canopy of ornamental species used in wildland–urban interfaces

Abstract : South-eastern France is strongly affected by wildfires mostly occurring in the wildland-urban interfaces (WUIs). A WUI fire is often initiated in dead surface fuel, then can propagate to shrubs and trees when the lower canopy is close to (or touches) the ground. Whereas a previous study assessed the fire propagation from the fuel bed to the lower canopy of different species used as ornamental vegetation in this region, the objectives of the current work consisted of checking if the modelling of this fire propagation was possible using WFDS (Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Dynamical Simulator) in comparing experimental and modelling results. Experimental and modelling constraints (i. e. branch geometric definition, branch motion due to convection) showed differences in some of the recorded data (such as time to ignition, ignition temperature, mass loss and maximum temperature), but comparisons of variation in mass loss and temperature over time showed that modelling the fire propagation at the scale of a branch was possible if the branch fuel-moisture content remained lower than 25%. For both experiments and modelling, the ranking of species according to their branch flammability highlighted identical groups of species.
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L. Terrei, A. Lamorlette, A. Ganteaume. Modelling the fire propagation from the fuel bed to the lower canopy of ornamental species used in wildland–urban interfaces. International Journal of Wildland Fire, CSIRO Publishing, 2019, 28 (2), pp.113. ⟨10.1071/WF18090⟩. ⟨hal-02176483⟩

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