Special Issue "Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosphere/Hydrosphere/Land–Atmosphere Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Jason J. Sharples
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Science, University of New South Wales Canberra, CANBERRA BC 2610, Australia
Interests: bushfire; wildfire; fire weather; modelling; fire–atmosphere interaction
Prof. Dr. Khalid Moinuddin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institutue of Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, Victoria University, Footscray, VIC 3011, Australia
Interests: computational fluid dynamics; wildfire; enclosure fire dynamics, large outdoor fire

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Atmosphere is dedicating this Special Issue to communicating the latest developments in coupled fire–atmosphere modelling. In the last few decades, considerable effort has been put into the design and implementation of models that enable consideration of the two-way interaction between fire and the atmosphere. These models have provided insights into the distinctly dynamic nature of wildfire propagation across a landscape and are continuing to contribute to leading edge wildfire science.

This Special Issue provides an opportunity for those involved in modelling the fire–atmosphere system across a range of scales—from fine-scale combustion dynamics to large pyroconvective events—to present their work in a dedicated volume. We therefore invite you to contribute articles to this Special Issue that highlight advances, new insights, technical issues and emerging research directions associated with existing and emerging coupled fire–atmosphere modelling frameworks. Contributions that describe idealised simulations as well as real-world case studies are welcome.

It is our intention that this Special Issue will help to promote discussion of important modelling issues and highlight synergies and linkages across the various modelling platforms and reasearch groups, which will lead to fruitful collaboration and progress in modelling the fire–atmosphere system at relevant scales.

Prof. Jason J. Sharples
Prof. Khalid Moinuddin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Fire–atmosphere interaction 
  • Coupled fire–atmosphere model 
  • Dynamic fire behaviour 
  • Extreme fire 
  • Pyroconvection

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Article
Multiscale Modeling of Convection and Pollutant Transport Associated with Volcanic Eruption and Lava Flow: Application to the April 2007 Eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise (Reunion Island)
Atmosphere 2021, 12(4), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12040507 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 416
Abstract
Volcanic eruptions can cause damage to land and people living nearby, generate high concentrations of toxic gases, and also create large plumes that limit observations and the performance of forecasting models that rely on these observations. This study investigates the use of micro- [...] Read more.
Volcanic eruptions can cause damage to land and people living nearby, generate high concentrations of toxic gases, and also create large plumes that limit observations and the performance of forecasting models that rely on these observations. This study investigates the use of micro- to meso-scale simulation to represent and predict the convection, transport, and deposit of volcanic pollutants. The case under study is the 2007 eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise, simulated using a high-resolution, coupled lava/atmospheric approach (derived from wildfire/atmosphere coupled code) to account for the strong, localized heat and gaseous fluxes occurring near the vent, over the lava flow, and at the lava–sea interface. Higher resolution requires fluxes over the lava flow to be explicitly simulated to account for the induced convection over the flow, local mixing, and dilution. Comparisons with air quality values at local stations show that the simulation is in good agreement with observations in terms of sulfur concentration and dynamics, and performs better than lower resolution simulation with parameterized surface fluxes. In particular, the explicit representation of the thermal flows associated with lava allows the associated thermal breezes to be represented. This local modification of the wind flow strongly impacts the organization of the volcanic convection (injection height) and the regional transport of the sulfur dioxide emitted at the vent. These results show that explicitly solving volcanic activity/atmosphere complex interactions provides realistic forecasts of induced pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Article
A Multi-Fidelity Framework for Wildland Fire Behavior Simulations over Complex Terrain
Atmosphere 2021, 12(2), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12020273 - 18 Feb 2021
Viewed by 823
Abstract
A method for the large-eddy simulation (LES) of wildfire spread over complex terrain is presented. In this scheme, a cut-cell immersed boundary method (CC-IBM) is used to render the complex terrain, defined by a tessellation, on a rectilinear Cartesian grid. Discretization of scalar [...] Read more.
A method for the large-eddy simulation (LES) of wildfire spread over complex terrain is presented. In this scheme, a cut-cell immersed boundary method (CC-IBM) is used to render the complex terrain, defined by a tessellation, on a rectilinear Cartesian grid. Discretization of scalar transport equations for chemical species is done via a finite volume scheme on cut-cells defined by the intersection of the terrain geometry and the Cartesian cells. Momentum transport and heat transfer close to the immersed terrain are handled using dynamic wall models and a direct forcing immersed boundary method. A new “open” convective inflow/outflow method for specifying atmospheric wind boundary conditions is presented. Additionally, three basic approaches have been explored to model fire spread: (1) Representing the vegetation as a collection of Lagrangian particles, (2) representing the vegetation as a semi-porous boundary, and (3) representing the fire spread using a level set method, in which the fire spreads as a function of terrain slope, vegetation type, and wind speed. Several test and validation cases are reported to demonstrate the capabilities of this novel wildfire simulation methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Article
Modeling Low Intensity Fires: Lessons Learned from 2012 RxCADRE
Atmosphere 2021, 12(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12020139 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 686
Abstract
Coupled fire-atmosphere models are increasingly being used to study low-intensity fires, such as those that are used in prescribed fire applications. Thus, the need arises to evaluate these models for their ability to accurately represent fire spread in marginal burning conditions. In this [...] Read more.
Coupled fire-atmosphere models are increasingly being used to study low-intensity fires, such as those that are used in prescribed fire applications. Thus, the need arises to evaluate these models for their ability to accurately represent fire spread in marginal burning conditions. In this study, wind and fuel data collected during the Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiments (RxCADRE) fire campaign were used to generate initial and boundary conditions for coupled fire-atmosphere simulations. We present a novel method to obtain fuels representation at the model grid scale using a combination of imagery, machine learning, and field sampling. Several methods to generate wind input conditions for the model from eight different anemometer measurements are explored. We find a strong sensitivity of fire outcomes to wind inputs. This result highlights the critical need to include variable wind fields as inputs in modeling marginal fire conditions. This work highlights the complexities of comparing physics-based model results against observations, which are more acute in marginal burning conditions, where stronger sensitivities to local variability in wind and fuels drive fire outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Article
LES Simulation of Wind-Driven Wildfire Interaction with Idealized Structures in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Atmosphere 2021, 12(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12010021 - 25 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 730
Abstract
This paper presents a numerical investigation of the impact of a wind-driven surface fire, comparable to a large wildfire, on an obstacle located downstream of the fire source. The numerical modelling was conducted using FireFOAM, a coupled fire-atmosphere model underpinned by a large [...] Read more.
This paper presents a numerical investigation of the impact of a wind-driven surface fire, comparable to a large wildfire, on an obstacle located downstream of the fire source. The numerical modelling was conducted using FireFOAM, a coupled fire-atmosphere model underpinned by a large eddy simulation (LES) solver, which is based on the Eddy Dissipation Concept (EDC) combustion model and implemented in the OpenFOAM platform (an open source CFD tool). The numerical data were validated using the aerodynamic measurements of a full-scale building model in the absence of fire effects. The results highlighted the physical phenomena contributing to the fire spread pattern and its thermal impact on the building. In addition, frequency analysis of the surface temperature fluctuations ahead of the fire front showed that the presence of a building influences the growth and formation of buoyant instabilities, which directly affect the behaviour of the fire’s plume. The coupled fire-atmosphere modelling presented here constitutes a fundamental step towards better understanding the behaviour and potential impacts of large wind-driven wildland fires in wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Article
Pressure-Gradient Forcing Methods for Large-Eddy Simulations of Flows in the Lower Atmospheric Boundary Layer
Atmosphere 2020, 11(12), 1343; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121343 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 484
Abstract
Turbulent flows over forest canopies have been successfully modeled using Large-Eddy Simulations (LES). Simulated winds result from the balance between a simplified pressure gradient forcing (e.g., a constant pressure-gradient or a canonical Ekman balance) and the dissipation of momentum, due to vegetation drag. [...] Read more.
Turbulent flows over forest canopies have been successfully modeled using Large-Eddy Simulations (LES). Simulated winds result from the balance between a simplified pressure gradient forcing (e.g., a constant pressure-gradient or a canonical Ekman balance) and the dissipation of momentum, due to vegetation drag. Little attention has been paid to the impacts of these forcing methods on flow features, despite practical challenges and unrealistic features, such as establishing stationary velocity or streak locking. This study presents a technique for capturing the effects of a pressure-gradient force (PGF), associated with atmospheric patterns much larger than the computational domain for idealized simulations of near-surface phenomena. Four variants of this new PGF are compared to existing forcings, for turbulence statistics, spectra, and temporal averages of flow fields. Results demonstrate that most features of the turbulent flow are captured. The variants can either enable modelers to prescribe a wind speed and direction at a reference height close to the ground as required in wildfire simulations, and/or mitigate streaks locking by reproducing the stability of the Ekman balance. Conditions of use, benefits, and drawbacks are discussed. PGF approaches, therefore, provide a viable solution for precursor inflows, including for the specific domains used in fire simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Article
Performance Evaluation of an Operational Rapid Response Fire Spread Forecasting System in the Southeast Mediterranean (Greece)
Atmosphere 2020, 11(11), 1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111264 - 23 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 763
Abstract
The current work presents the operational implementation and evaluation of a rapid response fire spread forecasting system, named IRIS, that was developed to provide support to the tactical wildfire suppression activities of the Hellenic Fire Corps. The system was operationally employed during the [...] Read more.
The current work presents the operational implementation and evaluation of a rapid response fire spread forecasting system, named IRIS, that was developed to provide support to the tactical wildfire suppression activities of the Hellenic Fire Corps. The system was operationally employed during the 2019 fire season in Greece, providing on-demand wildfire spread predictions for 17 incidents. Satellite remote sensing data were employed for quantitatively assessing IRIS’s predictions for eight selected events. Our results suggest an overall satisfactory model performance. More importantly, this study demonstrates that, as coupled fire-atmosphere modeling becomes an increasingly popular approach, the respective models have great potential to support operational agencies and wildfire managers during the incident phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Article
Physics-Based Simulations of Flow and Fire Development Downstream of a Canopy
Atmosphere 2020, 11(7), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11070683 - 28 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The behavior of a grassland fire propagating downstream of a forest canopy has been simulated numerically using the fully physics-based wildfire model FIRESTAR3D. This configuration reproduces quite accurately the situation encountered when a wildfire spreads from a forest to an open grassland, as [...] Read more.
The behavior of a grassland fire propagating downstream of a forest canopy has been simulated numerically using the fully physics-based wildfire model FIRESTAR3D. This configuration reproduces quite accurately the situation encountered when a wildfire spreads from a forest to an open grassland, as can be the case in a fuel break or a clearing, or during a prescribed burning operation. One of the objectives of this study was to evaluate the impact of the presence of a canopy upstream of a grassfire, especially the modifications of the local wind conditions before and inside a clearing or a fuel break. The knowledge of this kind of information constitutes a major element in improving the safety conditions of forest managers and firefighters in charge of firefighting or prescribed burning operations in such configurations. Another objective was to study the behavior of the fire under realistic turbulent flow conditions, i.e., flow resulting from the interaction between an atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) with a surrounding canopy. Therefore, the study was divided into two phases. The first phase consisted of generating an ABL/canopy turbulent flow above a pine forest (10 m high, 200 m long) using periodic boundary conditions along the streamwise direction. Large Eddy Simulations (LES) were carried out for a sufficiently long time to achieve a quasi-fully developed turbulence. The second phase consisted of simulating the propagation of a surface fire through a grassland, bordered upstream by a forest section (having the same characteristics used for the first step), while imposing the turbulent flow obtained from the first step as a dynamic inlet condition to the domain. The simulations were carried out for a wind speed that ranged between 1 and 12 m/s; these values have allowed the simulations to cover the two regimes of propagation of surfaces fires, namely plume-dominated and wind-driven fires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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Commentary
Lessons Learned from Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Research and Implications for Operational Fire Prediction and Meteorological Products Provided by the Bureau of Meteorology to Australian Fire Agencies
Atmosphere 2020, 11(12), 1380; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11121380 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Coupled fire-atmosphere models are simulators that integrate a fire component and an atmospheric component, with the objective of capturing interactions between the fire and atmosphere. As a fire releases energy in the combustion process, the surrounding atmosphere adjusts in response to the energy [...] Read more.
Coupled fire-atmosphere models are simulators that integrate a fire component and an atmospheric component, with the objective of capturing interactions between the fire and atmosphere. As a fire releases energy in the combustion process, the surrounding atmosphere adjusts in response to the energy fluxes; coupled fire-atmosphere (CFA) models aim to resolve the processes through which these adjustments occur. Several CFA models have been developed internationally, mostly by meteorological institutions and primarily for use as a research tool. Research studies have provided valuable insights into some of the atmospheric processes surrounding a fire. The potential to run CFA models in real time is currently limited due to the intensive computational requirements. In addition, there is a need for systematic verification to establish their accuracy and the appropriate circumstances for their use. The Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) is responsible for providing relevant and accurate meteorological information to Australian fire agencies to inform decisions for the protection of life and property and to support hazard management activities. The inclusion of temporally and spatially detailed meteorological fields that adjust in response to the energy released by a fire is seen as a component in developing fire prediction systems that capture some of the most impactful fire and weather behavior. The Bureau’s ten-year research and development plan includes a commitment to developing CFA models, with the objective of providing enhanced services to Australian fire agencies. This paper discusses the operational use of fire predictions and simulators, learnings from CFA models and potential future directions for the Bureau in using CFA models to support fire prediction activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupled Fire-Atmosphere Simulation)
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