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Research articles

ScienceAsia 39(2013): 535-545 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2013.39.535

Fire spread prediction for deciduous forest fires in Northern Thailand

Agapol Junpena,b, Savitri Garivaita,b,*, Sebastien Bonneta,b, Adisak Pongpullponsakc

ABSTRACT:     Predicting fire spread rates is essential in planning and deciding whether to conduct prescribed fires or suppressing forest fires. This study was conducted with the objective of developing a fire spread model for deciduous forest fires by using a simple statistical model. Test fires were conducted under a range of weather and fuel conditions to gather quantitative data on fire spreading. A series of 80 experimental fire plots were set in deciduous forests in the Northern Thailand during the forest fire seasons from 2008–2009. The factors influencing the fire spread rate, i.e., weather, fuel, and topography conditions, were measured to model the fire spread. According to the burning experiments, the fire spread rate was 0.51–2.55 m/min. Multiple nonlinear regression analyses of slope terrain, fuel load, and moisture content of fuels were found to be able to accurately predict the fire spread rate at a confidence level of 25–88%. The developed model can be applied to deciduous forest fuels in other regions of Thailand. However, its use should be restricted to typical weather conditions.

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a Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok 10140 Thailand
b Centre of Excellence on Energy Technology and Environment, Ministry of Education, Bangkok 10140 Thailand
c Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok 10140 Thailand

* Corresponding author, E-mail: garivait_savitri@hotmail.com

Received 19 Dec 2012, Accepted 8 Jul 2013