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Fire Fighting Tactics under Wind Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments



Daniel M. Madrzykowski, Stephen Kerber


Eight full scale experiments were conducted to examine the impact of wind on fire spread through a multi-room structure and examine the capabilities of wind control devices (WCD) and externally applied water streams to mitigate the hazard. The principle measurements used to examine the impact of the tactics were heat release rate, temperature, heat flux, and velocity inside the structure. Measurements of oxygen, carbon dioxide, total hydrocarbons and differential pressures were also measured. Each of the experiments was recorded with video and thermal imaging cameras. These experiments demonstrated the thermal conditions that can be generated by a "simple room and contents" fire and how these conditions can be extended along a flow path within a structure when a wind condition and an open vent are present. Two potential tactics which could be implemented from either the floor above the fire in the case of a WCD or from the floor below the fire in the case of the external water application were demonstrated to be effective in reducing the thermal hazard in the corridor.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1618
Report Number


fire fighting tactics, fire suppression, full scale fire experiments, heat flux, heat release rate, hose streams, structure fire, wind driven fire, wind control


Madrzykowski, D. and Kerber, S. (2009), Fire Fighting Tactics under Wind Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created January 21, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017