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Open AccessArticle

Use of Distributed Temperature Sensing Technology to Characterize Fire Behavior

Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003, USA
Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vittorio M. N. Passaro
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1712;
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 4 October 2016 / Accepted: 9 October 2016 / Published: 17 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
We evaluated the potential of a fiber optic cable connected to distributed temperature sensing (DTS) technology to withstand wildland fire conditions and quantify fire behavior parameters. We used a custom-made ‘fire cable’ consisting of three optical fibers coated with three different materials—acrylate, copper and polyimide. The 150-m cable was deployed in grasslands and burned in three prescribed fires. The DTS system recorded fire cable output every three seconds and integrated temperatures every 50.6 cm. Results indicated the fire cable was physically capable of withstanding repeated rugged use. Fiber coating materials withstood temperatures up to 422 °C. Changes in fiber attenuation following fire were near zero (−0.81 to 0.12 dB/km) indicating essentially no change in light gain or loss as a function of distance or fire intensity over the length of the fire cable. Results indicated fire cable and DTS technology have potential to quantify fire environment parameters such as heat duration and rate of spread but additional experimentation and analysis are required to determine efficacy and response times. This study adds understanding of DTS and fire cable technology as a potential new method for characterizing fire behavior parameters at greater temporal and spatial scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: fiber-optic; FO-DTS; prescribed fire; rangeland; spatial mapping fiber-optic; FO-DTS; prescribed fire; rangeland; spatial mapping
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Cram, D.; Hatch, C.E.; Tyler, S.; Ochoa, C. Use of Distributed Temperature Sensing Technology to Characterize Fire Behavior. Sensors 2016, 16, 1712.

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