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

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel L. Manzello

Flanking Fire

  • LaWen T. HollingsworthEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51727-8_186-1



There are three types of fire spread: heading fire, flanking fire, and backing fire. Flanking fire spreads perpendicular to the wind (Fig.  1). From a mathematical perspective, a heading fire represents the direction of maximum spread during flaming combustion. A flanking fire is mathematically calculated as 90° from the direction of maximum spread. While the combination of heading fire spread and backing fire spread comprises the major axis of the ellipse, the flanking fire spread represents the widest portion of the minor axis of the ellipse.
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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