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Investigating Firebrand Deposition Processes in Large Outdoor Fires



Sayaka Suzuki, Samuel Manzello


Devastating large outdoor fires have been responsible for destruction of vast amounts of infrastructure and loss of human life. Wildland fires that spread into urban areas, known as wildland-urban interface (WUI) fires, are capable of enormous destruction. WUI fires are distinct from wildland fires; WUI fires include the combustion of both vegetative and human-made fuels and occur where large population centers exist whereas wildland fires include the combustion of vegetative fuels and occur in uninhabited areas. The rise of densely populated urban areas has also seen the development of large urban fires. The most recent of these occurred in the winter of 2016 in Niigata, Japan. Similarly, the USA has also experienced several major urban fires. In some cases, earthquakes have served to initiate these fires, but it is not a necessary condition for these urban fires to develop. In addition, the rise of informal settlement communities in Southeast Asia and Africa continues to result in large outdoor fires capable of great destruction. Firebrands, or smoldering and/or flaming particles, are in fact the main culprit to destroy structures in large outdoor fires. Recent comprehensive review of firebrand combustion reported that deposition processes remain largely unexplored. As part of this work, a series of intricate experiments were undertaken to investigate firebrand deposition processes. A firebrand generator was utilized, and various flow obstructions were placed down stream of these firebrand generators to better understand these complex deposition processes. Results of these investigations for multiple wind speeds, firebrand size and mass distributions, and obstacle placement are presented and discussed.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 12th U. S. National Combustion Meeting
Conference Dates
May 24-26, 2021
Conference Location
Virtual Conference, TX, US
Conference Title
12th U. S. National Combustion Meeting (Virtual Conference)


large outdoor fires, firebrands, wind, deposition


Suzuki, S. and Manzello, S. (2021), Investigating Firebrand Deposition Processes in Large Outdoor Fires, Proceedings of the 12th U. S. National Combustion Meeting , Virtual Conference, TX, US, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created May 27, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022