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

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel L. Manzello

Firebrands and Embers

  • Vytenis Babrauskas
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51727-8_3-1



Both wildland and structure fires can generate burning particles which flow along with the gaseous combustion products. When such particles have the capability of setting additional fires (“spot fires”), they become firebrands. Firebrands and embers are similar items but with a slight distinction. “Ember” refers to any small, hot, carbonaceous particle. Meanwhile, “firebrand” specifically denotes an object which is airborne and carried for some distance in an airstream. Thus, aerodynamic properties of firebrands become an important characteristic that needs to be considered. Firebrands are also sometimes referred to as “flying brands” or “brands,” and all of these terms have the same meaning. Since firebrands or embers can be burning (flaming or smoldering), they can serve as ignition sources for vegetation, structures, or other target fuels (Fig. 1).


The basic aerodynamics is that the firebrand first gets lofted by the plume of...
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fire Science and Technology Inc., and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sayaka Suzuki
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Institute of Fire and Disaster (NRIFD)TokyoJapan