Projet Feux | UMR SPE 6134
Research  | Research activities
Behaviour of wildland fires and comprehensive fire model

Link to "Fire behaviour on fuel beds" section

Link to "Fire behaviour in bush" section

Link to "Comprehensive fire model" section

Link to "Persons participating in this research" section

Link to "Partners" section

Link to "Publications" section


The aim of this work is to develop an experimental approach to obtain global thermodynamic and geometric magnitudes describing the propagation dynamics of a wildland fire at laboratory level, while at the same time simulating these experiments using a comprehensive modelling approach. The aim of our approach is to obtain measurements associated with the entire fire front (output of the fire front, rate of loss of matter, radiative fraction, convective fraction, shape and speed of the fire front).


We studied the behaviour of fire on fuel beds from an experimental point of view. More than fifty fire spread experiments on beds of pine needles were conducted on flat and sloped land using a large 3m x 3m oxygen consumption calorimeter. These experiments allowed us to characterise the global properties of the fire front (output, radiation emitted and propagation rate, amongst other factors). The data collected has made it possible to derive field-level laws on the intensity of fire, and a method for estimating radiative and convective fractions based on the fire front was developed.

Photographs of propagation on pine needle beds on a) flat land and b) sloped land.
To study fire behaviour in bush, we adopted a two-step approach.
Firstly, we studied the behaviour of fire based on different sized plant particles (leaves, stalks, etc.). The ignition and combustion of thermally thick and thermally thin plants were examined using an oxygen consumption cone calorimeter and FPA (Fire Propagation Apparatus). This study enabled us to ascertain the influence of the inflow of air on the fire behaviour of plants and that of the size of the particles in terms of ignition.
Photography a) of the ignition of stalks 18mm in diameter; b) of the combustion of stalks 2mm in diameter
The second step currently underway involves studying the combustion of bushes (natural vegetation) under the large calorimeter. This experimental research makes a vital contribution to the comprehensive fire model.
Parallel to the experiments conducted in the laboratory, we are also working on improving and testing the comprehensive fire calculation code. We are currently working on the numerical simulation of fire spread experiments on fuel beds and we are striving to improve the numerical model by working on the source term which will allow for the fire behaviour of vegetation (rate of loss of matter, gas released, etc.) to be more adequately taken into account.
Forest fire spread simulation on fuel beds


USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering of Edinburgh


  • V. Tihay-Felicelli, P.A. Santoni, T. Barboni, L. Leonelli, Autoignition of Dead Shrub Twigs: Influence of Diameter on Ignition, Fire Technology, Vol. 52 (3), 897-929, 2016
  • Chiaramonti N., Romagnoli E., Santoni P.A., and Barboni T., Comparison of the combustion of pine species with two sizes of calorimeter: 10 g vs. 100 g, Fire Technology, 2016, 52(3), 897-929
  • V. Tihay, F. Morandini, P.A. Santoni, Y. Perez-Ramirez and T. Barboni, Combustion of forest litters under slope conditions: burning rate, heat release rate, convective and radiant fractions for different loads, Combustion and flame, Vol. 161, 3237-3248, 2014
  • F. Morandini, Y. Perez-Ramirez, V. Tihay, P.A. Santoni, T. Barboni, Radiant, convective and heat release characterization of vegetation fire, International Journal of Thermal Sciences, 70, 83-91, 2013.
  • V. Tihay, F. Morandini, P.A. Santoni, Y. Perez-Ramirez, T. Barboni, Study of the influence of fuel load and slope on a fire spreading across a bed of pine needles by using oxygen consumption calorimetry, Vol. 395, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 012075, 2012
  • A. Simeoni, J-C. Thomas, P. Bartoli, P. Borowieck, P. Reszkab, F. Colella, P-A. Santoni, J-L. Torero, Flammability studies for wildland and wildland-urban interface fires applied to pine needles and solid polymers, Fire Safety Journal, 54:203-217, 2012.
  • Barboni T., Morandini F., Rossi L., Molinier T., Santoni P.-A., Relationship between flame length and fireline intensity obtained by calorimetry at laboratory scale, Combustion Science and Technology, 2012, 184(2):186-204
  • Santoni PA,  Morandini F, Barboni T, Determination of fireline intensity by oxygen consumption calorimetry, Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 2011, 104(3):1005-1015, doi: 10.1007/s10973-010-1256-0
  • Bartoli P., Simeoni A., Biteau H., Torero J.L. and Santoni P.A., Determination of the main parameters influencing forest fuel combustion dynamics, Fire Safety Journal, 2011, 46 (1-2):27-33, doi:10.1016/j.firesaf.2010.05.002
Page mise à jour le 04/12/2017 par MATTHIEU VAREILLE