n. Behavior of a fire that produces firebrands that are transported by ambient winds, fire whirls, and/or convection columns causing spot fires ahead of the main fire perimeter (Andrews 1996; NWCG 2005).   


  • Discussion


Spotting can occur over distances ranging from a few meters to tens of kilometers ahead of the flaming front. Albini (1983) described short-range, intermediate-range, and long-range spotting. Short-range spotting can reach up to several tens of meters, intermediate-range spotting can reach up to several kilometers, and long-range spotting can reach distances of tens of kilometers ahead of the main fire (Albini 1983).




There are three important aspects surrounding the spotting issue: 1) the source of the firebrands and their type, size, and number; 2) distance that the firebrands are carried and their means of transport; and 3) number or relative frequency of spot fires ignited (Andrews 1996).


  • See Also

  • References

    • Albini, F.A. 1983. Potential spotting distances from wind-driven surface fires. Res. Pap. INT-309. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 27 p.

    • Andrews, P.L. 1996. Fire behavior. In: Pyne, S.J.; Andrews, P.L.; Laven, R.D. Introduction to Wildland Fire. 2d ed. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons: Chapter 2.

    • National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). 2005. Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology. [Online]. Available:


  • Notes

    • Author 

      Charles W. McHugh, Fire Spatial Analyst

      Rocky Mountain Research Station