Encyclopedia of Wildfires and Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Fires

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel L. Manzello

Heading Fire

  • LaWen T. HollingsworthEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51727-8_184-1

Synonyms

Definition

There are three types of fire spread: heading fire, flanking fire, and backing fire. A heading fire spreads with the wind; flames are tilted toward the direction of fire spread. A heading fire will spread upslope if there is no wind. From a mathematical perspective, a heading fire represents the direction of maximum fire spread during flaming combustion. On flat ground, a heading fire is straightforward as the direction of maximum fire spread will be in the same direction as the wind. On a slope, fire will spread upslope with an upslope wind since the slope and wind are aligned (Fig.  1). As a rule of thumb, if the wind direction is within 30° of upslope, the direction of maximum spread is considered to be upslope. If the wind direction is not within 30° of upslope, the direction of maximum spread must be calculated.
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rocky Mountain Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceMissoulaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sara McAllister
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA Forest ServiceRMRS Missoula Fire Sciences LaboratoryMissoulaUSA