The present thesis is a study of fire behaviour in forest fuels in Chile, in order to determine the time of ignition and rate of spread in relation to species, moisture content, slope and wind velocity.
The aspects studied are considered of fundamental significance for the preparation of forest fuels classifications and for the evaluation of forest fire danger.
The experiments were carried out at the laboratories of the Forestry Engineering School of the University of Chile in Quinta Normal, Santiago.
The fuel utilized was litter of Eucalyptus globulus, Pinus radiata, Nothofagus oblique var macrocarpa, Litrea caustica, Quillaja saponaria and Ballica sp., species that are commonly affected by forest fire in the central zone of Chile.
Some of the most important conclusions obtained from this study are the following:
The existence of a close correlation between the variable considered and the time of ignition, and rate spread.
The results obtained serve as a basis for the preparation of a preliminary classification of fuels studied which corrected and amplified throught field observations could practically be applied to the determination of critical sectors based on the probability of occurrence of forest fires and their rate of spread.
From the classifications obtained, it is deduced that the most susceptible species to rapid ignition and high rate of spread are: Ballica sp. And Pinus radiata, followed by Nothofagus oblique and Eucalyptus globulus that present intermediate characteristics; Quillaja saponaria and Litrea caustica are the ones that show the slowest ignition time and usually without fire spread.