UMD/USFS Collaborative Project Featured in the New York Times

With all the devastating wildland fires igniting around the nation, everyone has been asking what can be done to combat them? A recent article in the New York Times, “Into the Wildfire”  features work undertaken in a collaboration between the US Forest Service’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory and Prof. Michael Gollner’s research group at the University of Maryland, College Park that seeks to provide some answers. The collaborative project is based on scaling the dynamics of large wildland fires to laboratory experiments conducted in Missoula, MT and at the Fire Laboratory at the University of Maryland, College Park. Fire Protection Engineering Master’s Student Daniel Gorham has conducted many experiments in this effort, both at the Fire Lab Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT and Maryland, one of which is shown on the right with the project lead, Mark Finney, From the US Forest Service. Gorham’s inclined burner experiments simulate the dynamics of a spreading wildifire utilizing a static, gas-burner flame which is much easier to study than spreading fires. This work is beginning to reveal new dynamics on the methods in which wildfires heat fuels during fire spread, leading to the development of new models for fire spread which can be used for planning, prevention and forecasting future wildfires.

Mark Finney (USFS) with Daniel Gorham’s (UMD) inclined-burner experiment.