Ignition delay times of live and dead pinus radiata needles

P. Reszka, J. J. Cruz, J. Valdivia, F. González, J. Rivera, C. Carvajal, A. Fuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


There are still many open questions related to the fire behavior of live and dead wildland fuels and their senescence process. We have physically and biochemically studied live and dead pinus radiata needles, their aging process, and their fire behavior using a systematic aging procedure which allows to characterize the evolution of the fuel moisture content and the photosynthetic pigments over time, and to determine the period of time after sample collection in which specimens can be considered to be alive. Results show that pine needles stay alive for up to 12 h after collection if they remain attached to the twigs. The influence of senescence on spontaneous ignition was tested on two bench-scale devices, the I-FIT and the SCALA, under discontinuous and continuous configurations, respectively. Live pine needles showed larger critical heat fluxes than dead needles, while dead and re-hydrated samples have increased critical heat fluxes for greater moisture contents. Experimental results were interpreted with thermal models based on a two-phase description of the fuel layer. We established a correlation of the form 1/tig∝q˙inc'' for both ignition configurations, which is adequate for engineering applications and allows the estimation of effective properties for wildland fuel beds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102948
JournalFire Safety Journal
StatePublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical heat flux
  • Leaf senescence
  • Moisture content
  • Photosynthetic pigments
  • Wildland fire


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