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

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel L. Manzello

Wildland Fire Rate of Spread

  • Andrew L. SullivanEmail author
  • James S. Gould
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51727-8_55-1



Rate of spread is a measure of the speed of progression of a fire perimeter and can be expressed as the forward, backing, or flanking speed relative to the direction of the prevailing wind driving fire spread. Other measures such as rate of increase or growth of fire area or perimeter may also be used to quantify the rate of progression of a wildland fire.


Knowledge about the progression of a wildland fire is essential to planning and conducting fire suppression actions, issuing warnings about the likely impact of the fire, and ensuring the safety of firefighters and the general public (Plucinski et al. 2017). Knowing how fast a wildland fire will spread is also essential for understanding potential impacts of planned prescribed burns. Of all the attributes of a wildland fire, the rate of spreadof the fire in the direction of the prevailing wind has...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CSIRO Land and WaterCanberraAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anne Ganteaume
    • 1
  1. 1.RECOVER-EMRIRSTEAAix-en-ProvenceFrance