Laboratory studies and theoretical physical modeling, informed and validated by field observations, are used to examine physical fire processes. This research is designed to improve understanding of the fundamental, multi-scale, physical processes that govern fire behavior, including combustion processes, heat and energy transfer, atmospheric dynamics, and transitions from one type of fire behavior to another.
Scientists analyze the combustion process and the factors that determine fire behavior with the goal of developing a comprehensive physics-based fire modeling system that includes the full range of combustion environments and fire events observed in wildland fuels. New physics-based understanding will be incorporated into models suitable for use by fire and fuels managers both for characterizing fire danger and predicting fire behavior. Scientists need to model fire behavior for a wide range of purposes including site-specific vegetation simulation, global carbon accounting, and predicting loss of life or property.