Experimental Investigation of Wood Decking Assemblies Exposed to Firebrand Showers
Samuel L. Manzello, Sayaka Suzuki
Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fires have become a problem of great concern across multiple continents. An important mechanism of structure ignition in WUI fires and urban fires in Japan is the production of firebrands. During WUI fires, decking assemblies have been observed to be an ignition vulnerability based on post-fire damage surveys conducted by NIST and elsewhere. The authors have conducted scoping experiments and demonstrated the dangers of the dynamic process of continual, wind-driven firebrand showers landing onto decking assemblies for wind speeds of 6 m/s. In this present study, a series of experiments were conducted with wood decking assemblies under a wind speed of 8 m/s. The basis for these new investigations was twofold: observe possible vulnerabilities of wood decking assemblies to continuous, wind-driven firebrands under higher wind speed as firebrand accumulation patterns were expected to be influenced by wind speed, and examine if wall ignition was observed to occur due to the burning decking assembly. To this end, sections of wood decking assemblies (1.2 m by 1.2 m) were constructed and attached to a reentrant corner assembly. The deck/reentrant corner assembly was then exposed to continuous, wind-driven firebrand bombardment generated by a full-scale Continuous Feed Firebrand Generator installed in the Fire Research Wind Tunnel Facility (FRWTF) at the Building Research Institute (BRI) in Japan. Results of these experimental investigations are provided in this paper.