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Fire Dynamics: The Science of Fire Fighting



Daniel M. Madrzykowski


Fire dynamics can provide a firefighter with means to understand how a fire will grow and spread within a structure and how best to control that growth. Researchers have generated experimental results and computer models to explain how fire dynamics applies to the fire ground. This paper will provide a brief overview of the research that demonstrates the impact that changes in fuel and construction methods have had on the fire environment. These changes have altered the model of fire behavior taught to the fire service for decades. In addition, firefighter protective equipment has also changed over the years. All these factors lead to an assessment that fire-fighting tactics may need to evolve in order to keep in balance with the changing conditions on the fire ground. In order for these studies to occur, it took leadership within the fire service to question the status quo. Leadership will be required in every fire department to educate the fire service as a whole and implement needed changes to the current fire-fighting practices. Practices that make fire conditions worse before fire control and rescue can be achieved. Fire leadership must embrace the knowledge of fire dynamics, employ a size-up of every fire scene, and then choose the fire-fighting tactics and task assignments based on that assessment.
International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management


basement fires, fire dynamics, firefighters, fire-fighting, fire research, fire triangle, flow path, heat release rate, wind driven fires


Madrzykowski, D. (2013), Fire Dynamics: The Science of Fire Fighting, International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created October 1, 2013, Updated February 19, 2017