This apparatus, developed at EL, has been constructed to generate a controlled and repeatable size and mass distribution of glowing firebrands. The purpose of NIST Dragon is to simulate wind driven firebrand showers observed in long range spotting and therefore glowing firebrands were desired. But, the NIST Dragon, it is also possible to generate flaming firebrand showers. Another very important characteristic of the NIST Dragon is that the firebrand size and mass produced using the device can be tailored to those measured from full-scale tree burns and actual WUI fires. In collaboration with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE), NIST has quantified firebrand distributions from a real WUI fire (Angora Fire) for the first time
The data generated are used in current fire growth models and as component elements in fire hazard and fire risk assessment. To develop scientifically based mitigation strategies to reduce the number of structures lost in these fires, it is necessary to understand vulnerabilities of structures to firebrand showers. By delivering a standard firebrand exposure, the NIST Dragon has been used to determine vulnerabilities of roofing assemblies, building vents, siding treatments, walls fitted with eaves, and fences to firebrand showers.
Industry, university, and government representatives are encouraged to use this facility on a collaborative or independent cost reimbursable basis, with certain restrictions. For safety reasons, EL staff supervise the use of the apparatus.