Understanding Fire Behavior

Report Date: February 2014

While there is much great information generated from firefighter experience and fire research, this information cannot be effectively used by firefighters until it is fully understood. This article from Fire Fighting in Canada provides an excellent explanation of the differences between fuel-limited fires and ventilation-limited fires. Structural fires are most often ventilation-limited, and therefore it is paramount to understand the fire growth of and effects of ventilation on ventilation-limited fires. The article provides details, warning signs, and tactical considerations for ventilation-limited fires. For a basic and fundamental understanding of the ventilation-limited phenomena causing the negative pressure resulting in no smoke seen in the second part of the video from UL and NIST that is referenced in the article, watch the demonstration in this video from the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV). More information on the referenced UL/NIST Scientific Research for the Development of More Effective Tactics can be accessed here.


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  • Fire Fighting in Canada

    Fire Fighting in Canada has a 50-plus year history of educating and informing fire chiefs, senior officers and firefighters in municipal, industrial and military fire departments across the country. The editorial mandate of the magazine is to share news and developments in the industry and provide analysis and commentary on significant happenings in the fire service. Fire Fighting in Canada provides a forum for fire and related emergency-service leaders to share information and succeed in challenging times. The magazine is also a distributor for NFPA products. Fire Fighting in Canada is published eight times a year, in February, March, May, June, August, September, November and December.

  • The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes

    The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV), on the Big Island of Hawaii, operates out of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The Center is a training and outreach program founded by Robert W. Decker. CSAV's mission is to provide information on volcanic and natural hazards that occur in Hawaii and worldwide. CSAV has been operating since 1989, and is a cooperative program of the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH), the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), and the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM).

Bolton, Ian. "Understanding Fire Behaviour: The Effect of Oxygen on Ventilation-Limited Fires in Today’s Highly Combustible Homes." Fire Fighting in Canada. February 10, 2014. Accessed from http://www.firefightingincanada.com/structural/understanding-fire-behaviour-17988.

Image Credit: http://www.syracuse.com/
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