Machine learning-based solution could help firefighters circumvent deadly backdrafts

To learn how firefighters could anticipate deadly backdraft events in the field, NIST researchers conducted hundreds of fire experiments while taking a plethora of measurements. Many of these tests resulted in a backdraft, which caused fireballs to burst from the opening of a metal chamber. Credit: D. Stewart/NIST

A lack of oxygen can reduce even the most furious flame to smoldering ash. But when fresh air rushes in, say after a firefighter opens a window or door to a room, the blaze may be suddenly and violently resurrected. This explosive phenomenon, called backdraft, can be lethal and has been …

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