We evaluated the potential of a fiber optic cable connected to distributed temperature sensing (DTS) technology to withstand wildland fire conditions and quantify fire behavior parameters. We used a custom-made ‘fire cable’ consisting of three optical fibers coated with three different materials—acrylate, copper and polyimide. The 150-m cable was deployed in grasslands and burned in three prescribed fires. The DTS system recorded fire cable output every three seconds and integrated temperatures every 50.6 cm. Results indicated the fire cable was physically capable of withstanding repeated rugged use. Fiber coating materials withstood temperatures up to 422 °C. Changes in fiber attenuation following fire were near zero (−0.81 to 0.12 dB/km) indicating essentially no change in light gain or loss as a function of distance or fire intensity over the length of the fire cable. Results indicated fire cable and DTS technology have potential to quantify fire environment parameters such as heat duration and rate of spread but additional experimentation and analysis are required to determine efficacy and response times. This study adds understanding of DTS and fire cable technology as a potential new method for characterizing fire behavior parameters at greater temporal and spatial scales.
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Cram, Douglas; Hatch, Christine E.; Tyler, Scott; and Ochoa, Carlos, "Use of Distributed Temperature Sensing Technology to Characterize Fire Behavior" (2016). Geosciences Department Faculty Publication Series. 2.