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Embracing Complexity to Advance the Science of Wildland Fire Behavior

1
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
2
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
3
Department of Forest, Rangeland, and Fire Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
4
Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, FL 31792, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 19 June 2018 / Accepted: 21 June 2018 / Published: 24 June 2018
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Abstract

Wildland fire behavior research has largely focused on the steady-state interactions between fuels and heat fluxes. Contemporary research is revealing new questions outside the bounds of this simplified approach. Here, we explore the complex interactions taking place beyond steady-state assumptions through acknowledging the manufactured separation of research disciplines in fire science and the dynamic interactions that unfold when these separations are removed. Through a series of examples spanning at least four research disciplines and three ranges of spatial scale, we illustrate that by precisely defining parameters in a way that holds across scales and relaxing one steady-state simplification, we begin to capture the inherent variability that has largely eluded the fire behavior community. Through exploring examples of “deep interdependence,” we make the case that fire behavior science is well equipped to launch forward into more complex lines of inquiry. View Full-Text
Keywords: complexity; combustion kinetics; energy flux; fire-atmosphere; flammability; heterogeneity; non-steady state; phase space complexity; combustion kinetics; energy flux; fire-atmosphere; flammability; heterogeneity; non-steady state; phase space
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Yedinak, K.M.; Strand, E.K.; Hiers, J.K.; Varner, J.M. Embracing Complexity to Advance the Science of Wildland Fire Behavior. Fire 2018, 1, 20.

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