FOR 450, Fire Behavior - Spring 2015
Class Periods: Monday, Wednesday, 3:30-4:45 pm
Lab Periods: Wednesday, 5:00-6:50 pm
Locations: CNR 205F (Class periods), CNR 026 or the University of Idaho Combustion Lab (Lab periods)
Required Field Trip: USFS Fire Science Lab, Missoula, MT, Tue (pm) -Wed. (all day), April 7-8 

Web Site:

College of Natural Resources
University of Idaho

Recent Announcements

  • Final Exam Review Sheet
    Posted Mar 4, 2015, 3:14 PM by Philip Higuera
  • Lab 1 - Dataset Key The correct data to use for your write of up Lab 1 are in the Google spreadsheet linked to below: ...
    Posted Feb 5, 2015, 9:56 AM by Philip Higuera
  • Lab 1 -- data Your data from Lab 1 are in the Google Doc linked to below. You should download this file and save it as a spreadsheet, and then perform the necessary calculations ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2015, 6:57 PM by Philip Higuera
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Crown fire in the Yukon Flats, Alaska, 2006
Crown Fire in the Yukon Flats, Alaska, 2006.


Philip Higuera, Assistant Professor

Office Hours: Mon., Wed., 12:00-1:30 pm, CNR 204B   *To make sure you do not have to wait, make an appointment at*

E-mail: (Include "FOR 450" in subject)

Course Description

This course is designed to help students understand the processes and mechanisms controlling wildland fire behavior across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Class periods consist of presentations, in-class exercises, and discussions of scientific literature, current topics, and case studies. Laboratory periods include designing experiments and observing small-scale fire behavior at the University of Idaho Combustion Lab, quantitative analysis, and a 1.5-day field trip to visit the USFS Fire Science Laboratory in Missoula, Montana.

The first half of the course focuses on the chemical and physical process of combustion and heat transfer in wildland fires. In the second half of the course we examine how these processes scale up to determine the behavior of an individual fire, and how this knowledge can be used to make fire behavior predictions for a given fire scenario.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Describe the physical and biological controls of fire behavior
  2. Understand and critique the underpinnings of commonly-used fire behavior models and tools, including key assumptions and limitations
  3. Develop and test hypotheses related to wildland fire behavior and articulate results in written communication
  4. Appreciate the strengths and limitations of the scientific method as a mode of inquiry informing natural resource management 

Course Prerequisites

This course has prerequisites of PHYS 101 or 111, and FOR 326, Fire Ecology and Management. The course depends upon introductory knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, and statistics.  
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