Fire Dynamics

Common  Core Courses:

Scientific  Programming (ISC 5305) and Applied Computational Science-1, ACS-1 (ISC 5315) is the core set.

Physical science  and mathematically prepared  students  who are interested  in the environment and natural systems;  meteorology  students  interested  in  the  role  of  aerosols,  particulates,  and  gases emitted by forest fires and prescribed burning; physics or engineering  students  desiring to apply their knowledge  to combustion  in a natural  environment, wildland fire experts  who desire  to further their academic  career, computationally oriented  students  who  desire  a problem  of  direct  importance  to society, management and agency personnel who deal with the impact of wildland fires.


There  is a long  history  of studies  on the  ecological  effects  of fire, and  some  work  in engineering setting  on the mechanisms of fire generation  and propagation. However, to our knowledge there is no other  formal   PhD framework   for  the  study  of  fire  in  a  degree   program   as  a  fluid  dynamical phenomenon, with complex physical, chemical, and turbulent interactions with the environment.


Major requirements will be ISC5305, ISC5315, Fire Dynamics core courses plus 12 credit hours from the elective courses.

Fire Dynamics  core courses:

  GFD 5936 Advanced Topics in Fire Dynamics.  May be repeated for up to 4 semester hours.

This graduate seminar course will expose students to a set of selected topics in fire dynamics research through a variety of methods(group discussion of ongoing student research, faculty research, and outside speakers).  Students will additionally prepare and present a short research presentation suitable for a conference.

Topics will be drawn from different disciplines of fire dynamics, including fluid dynamics, meteorology, physics, computational sciences, ecology, forestry. 

Interested graduate students from related natural sciences (Physics, Meteorology, Environmental Sciences or Studies, Biology, Geosciences, or Chemistry, etc.) are welcome.  Instructor permission required.

  GFD5500L Fire Dynamics Field School Research and Operations in Prescribed Fire - 3 credits

This course will provide a multidisciplinary hands-on apprenticeship to the field methods most commonly used in prescribed fire. It will give graduate students the opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of the complexity of weather and the atmospheric boundary layer and fire as a fluid system, and its dynamics through the active participation in prescribed fire field research, operations, organizational and management concepts. It is an entry-level preparation for students considering a career in fire dynamics, fire science and management. This course represents a "real-world" practical project experience with time and budget constraints. Students will propose field measurements and produce a short research paper, and present scientific results

Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice basic land survey techniques, basic site fuels evaluation, basic preparation of burn units, public outreach activities via the project website, and involvement in the organizational and logistic requirements of staging and operating a field project. Students will be introduced to, and work with, various types of surveying, photographic, video, and computer equipment during the course of the field school.

Interested graduate students from related natural sciences (Physics, Meteorology, Environmental Sciences or Studies, Biology, Geosciences, or Chemistry, etc.) are welcome.


Graduate  Courses

GFD 6905r  Directed  Individual Study (3). (S/U grade only.)   May be repeated  to a maximum  of (48) semester hours.

GFD  6915r  Supervised  Research  (1-5).  (S/U  grade  only.)  May  be repeated  to a maximum  of five semester hours.

GFD 6925 Geophysical  Fluid Dynamics Colloquium  (1). (S/U grade only.)

GFD  6935r  Seminar  (1-2).  (S/U  grade only.)  May be repeated  to a maximum  of two  (2) semester hours.

GFD  6980r  Dissertation   (1-12).  A  student  may  not  enroll  for  GFD  6980r  prior  to  passing  the

preliminary  (comprehensive) examination.   Students  must  establish  their  ability  to  handle  modern computer techniques applicable  to their research.

GFD 8964r Doctoral Preliminary Examination  (0). (P/F grade only)

GFD 8985r Dissertation  Defense (0). (P/F grade only)

(Existing applied math, fluid dynamics, meteorology, engineering, and chemistry courses.)


Elective  Courses:


Viscous  fluid flows,  turbulent  flows,  introduction  to computational mechanics,  water  resources  and environmental engineering,  hydraulics, hydrology, ground water, and Combustion.

Courses: CEG 5125,5415, 5515, 5635; ECH 5934r, EGM 5456,5810, 6845; EML 5422, ENV 5045.

  Geological  Sciences

Geophysics,  geomechanics,   geophysical   methods,   seismology,  modeling   of  groundwater   flow, hydrology.

Courses: GLY 5425, 5455, 5465, 5556, 5573, 5575, 5825, 5826, 5827, 5868r.


Numerical  analysis,  vector  and  tensor  analysis,  ordinary  and  partial  differential  equations,  matrix algebra,  integral transforms  and asymptotics, perturbation theory, hydrodynamic  stability, wave propagation theory.

Courses: MAD  5708,  5738,  5739, 6408r;  MAP  5207, 5217, 5345,  5346,  5423,  5431,  5441, 5512,

5513, 6434r, 6437r, 6939r.


Atmospheric  thermodynamics,  atmospheric  dynamics,  atmospheric   circulation,  weather  prediction, satellite observations and remote sensing.

Courses:  MET 5311,5312, 5340r, 5471, 5541r, 6308r, 6561r.


Stability of geophysical fluid flows, turbulence.

Courses: OCP 5056, 5253, 5256, 5271, 5285, 5551, 5930r, OCE 5009L.


Magnetohydrodynamics,   principles   of  thermodynamics,   mechanics,   electricity   and   magnetism, theoretical dynamics, electrodynamics, statistical mechanics, astrophysics/combustion.

Courses: PHY 5246, 5346, 5347, 5524.


Computational  methods   in  statistics,   statistical   procedures   for  the   natural   sciences,   statistical inference, probability, multivariate  analysis, stochastic processes, applied time series analysis. Courses: STA 5106, 5206, 5326, 5327, 5440, 5447, 5807r.

Scientific Computing

Numerical methods, scientific visualization, scientific computing, Applied Computational Science II. Courses: ISC 5226, 5227, 5228, 5307, 5316

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