Firebrands are small, often smoldering embers which break off of vegetative or structural materials during wildland fires and can loft up to several kilometers ahead of the main fire front, igniting new spot fires. They have been found to be responsible for a large fraction of structure losses in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) by increasing the rate of fire spread, via direct ignition of structures, or by serving as the source of structure-to-structure fires spread. This project aims to determine the mechanism of ignition of building materials by firebrands and to identify key building material properties that define their propensity to ignite when subjected to firebrand showers. The knowledge acquired during this work will form a foundation for development of a standard test method for measuring building materials’ propensity to ignite when exposed to firebrand showers.
Project timeline: 09/2021 – 09/2023