Journal Article Reports on Factors Influencing Ember Accumulation Near a Building
Journal Article Reports on Factors Influencing Ember Accumulation Near a Building

The “Factors Influencing Ember Accumulation Near a Building” research article was published in the International Journal of Wildland Fire by CSIRO publishing. The article was authored by FSRI Research Engineer Daniel Gorham and collaborators affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), and Haag Engineering. The study aimed to study factors that influence ember accumulation near a building. Some of these factors include building geometry, such as flat wall and re-entrant corners, building wind angle, wind speed and the surface roughness characteristics of the horizontal landscape close to the building. In order to better understand the factors that influences ember accumulation, this study conducted experiments at the IBHS Research Center using full-scale buildings with the above-mentioned factors which provided a means to quantify ember accumulation on a mass per unit area basis.

The “Firebrand Ignition of Burning Materials” study being conducted as part of the International Fire Safety Consortium Partnership will reference these findings as FSRI aims to understand how embers might ignite deck materials as they continue to accumulate in piles.


Data suggested that the accumulation for the wall section was higher than the accumulation for the field section, thus indicating greater vulnerability at locations immediately adjacent to the building. For the wall sections, higher wind speeds resulted in greater accumulation. These higher wind speeds allowed more embers to reach the building and become caught in the recirculation where they were forced into the water-filled pans. For the field sections, accumulation values were largest for the medium win speed record; however, the dependency of accumulation on wind speed was lower. These results help us understand the implications with rough ground surfaces immediately adjacent to buildings. If embers strike a building and become contained in recirculation, they can be forced to the ground. If the ground surface is rough, such as mulch, it will capture the embers and force them accumulate closer to the building. If the ground surface is smooth, such as an attached deck, decomposition will allow embers to also travel back on the deck and accumulate at a location several feet from the building.

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About International Journal of Wildland Fire:

International Journal of Wildland Fire publishes new and significant papers that advance basic and applied research concerning wildland fire. The journal welcomes papers aimed at understanding the basic principles of fire as a process; its interactions with the weather and climate; its impacts on ecology, hydrology, geomorphology,  landscape carbon dynamics, the atmosphere, and society; modelling fire and its effects; or presenting information on how to effectively and efficiently manage fire. Manuscripts from physical, biological and social sciences will be considered. The journal has an international perspective, since wildland fire plays a major social, economic and ecological role in many regions of the world and strongly interacts with global climate change.