Fire whirls: A Combustion Science Perspective

Kazunori Kuwana, Kaname Matsue, Yasuhide Fukumoto, Ritsu Dobashi, Kozo Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fire whirls occur in urban and wildland fires, intensifying the local burning rate and generating long-distance firebrands. A striking feature of fire whirls is their increased flame heights, and this article provides a review of previous efforts to understand how the height of a fire whirl is determined. This paper mainly discusses four factors that influence fire-whirl height: burning rate, strong vorticity, turbulence reduction, and vortex breakdown. It is shown that each influence can be understood based on a simple constant-density mixture-fraction model. In the constant-density approximation, the flame shape can be analyzed in a prescribed flow field. This paper considers a one-celled Burgers vortex, a two-celled Sullivan vortex, and a strong-vorticity flow in which the axial velocity near the axis of rotation is faster than that in the peripheral region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3003-3020
Number of pages18
JournalCombustion Science and Technology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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