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View of one of the Tillamook Burn fires in August 1933.

A firestorm is a conflagration which attains such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. It is most commonly a natural phenomenon, created during some of the largest bushfires and wildfires. Although the word has been used to describe certain large fires,[1] the phenomenon's determining characteristic is a fire with its own storm-force winds from every point of the compass.[2][3] The Black Saturday bushfires and the Great Peshtigo Fire are possible examples of forest fires with some portion of combustion due to a firestorm. Firestorms can also occur in cities, usually as a deliberate effect of targeted explosives such as occurred as a result of the aerial firebombings of Hamburg, Dresden, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.


  • Mechanism 1
    • Weather and climate effects 1.1
  • City firestorms 2
    • Firebombing 2.1
    • Modern cities in comparison to World War II cities 2.2
  • Nuclear weapons in comparison to conventional weapons 3
  • See also 4
    • Potential firestorms 4.1
  • References 5


Firestorm: fire (1), updraft (2), strong gusty winds (3) (A) pyrocumulonimbus cloud.

A firestorm is created as a result of the stack effect as the heat of the original fire draws in more and more of the surrounding air. This draft can be quickly increased if a low-level jet stream exists over or near the fire. As the updraft mushrooms, strong inwardly-directed gusty winds develop around the fire, supplying it with additional air. This would seem to prevent the firestorm from spreading on the wind, but the tremendous turbulence created may also cause the strong surface inflow winds to change direction erratically. Firestorms resulting from the bombardment of urban areas in the Second World War were generally confined to the areas initially seeded with incendiary devices, and the firestorm did not appreciably spread outward.[4] A firestorm may also develop into a mesocyclone and induce true tornadoes/fire whirls. This occurred with the 2002 Durango fire, [5] and probably with the much greater Peshtigo Fire.[6][7] The greater draft of a firestorm draws in greater quantities of oxygen, which significantly increases combustion, thereby also substantially increasing the production of heat. The intense heat of a firestorm manifests largely as radiated heat (infrared radiation), which may ignite flammable material at a distance ahead of the fire itself.[8][9] This also serves to expand the area and the intensity of the firestorm. Violent, erratic wind drafts suck movables into the fire and as is observed with all intense conflagrations, radiated heat from the fire can melt asphalt, some metals, and glass, and turn street tarmac into flammable hot liquid. The very high temperatures ignite anything that might possibly burn, until the firestorm runs low on fuel.

According to experts, a firestorm does not appreciably ignite material at a distance ahead of itself; more accurately, the heat desiccates those materials and makes them more vulnerable to ignition by embers or firebrands, increasing the rate of fire spotting. During the formation of a firestorm many fires merge to form a single convective column of hot gases rising from the burning area and strong, fire-induced, radial (inwardly directed) winds are associated with the convective column. Thus the fire front is essentially stationary and the outward spread of fire is prevented by the in-rushing wind.[10]

A firestorm is characterized by strong to gale force winds blowing toward the fire, everywhere around the fire perimeter, an effect which is caused by the buoyancy of the rising column of hot gases over the intense mass fire, drawing in cool air from the periphery. These winds from the perimeter blow the fire brands into the burning area and tend to cool the unignited fuel outside the fire area so that ignition of material outside the periphery by radiated heat and fire embers is more difficult, thus limiting fire spread.[4] At Hiroshima, this inrushing to feed the fire is said to have prevented the firestorm perimeter from expanding, and thus the firestorm was confined to the area of the city damaged by the blast.[11]

Picture of a pyro-cumulonimbus taken from a commercial airliner cruising at about 10 km. In 2002 various sensing instruments detected 17 distinct pyrocumulonimbus cloud events in North America alone.[12]

Large wildfire conflagrations are distinct from firestorms as, crucially, the former have moving fire fronts which are driven by the ambient wind and do not develop their own wind system like true firestorms. Furthermore, conflagrations can develop from a single ignition, whereas firestorms have only been observed where large numbers of fires are burning simultaneously over a relatively large area,[13] with the important caveat that the density of simultaneously burning fires needs to be above a critical threshold for a firestorm to form (a notable example of large numbers of fires burning simultaneously over a large area without a firestorm developing was the Kuwaiti oil fires of 1991, where the distance between individual fires was too large).

The high temperatures within the firestorm zone ignite most everything that might possibly burn, until a tipping point is reached, that is, upon running low on fuel, which occurs after the firestorm has consumed so much of the available fuel within the firestorm zone that the necessary fuel density required to keep the firestorm's wind system active drops below the threshold level, at which time the firestorm breaks up into isolated conflagrations.

In Australia, the prevalence of eucalyptus trees that have oil in their leaves results in forest fires that are noted for their extremely tall and intense flame front. Hence the bush fires appear more as a firestorm than a simple forest fire. Sometimes, emission of combustible gases from swamps (e.g., methane) has a similar effect. For instance, methane explosions enforced the Peshtigo Fire.[6][14]

Weather and climate effects

Firestorms will produce hot buoyant smoke clouds of primarily water vapor that will form condensation clouds as it enters the cooler upper atmosphere, generating what is known as pyrocumulus clouds ("fire clouds") or, if large enough, pyrocumulonimbus ("fire storm") clouds. For example, the black rain that began to fall at ~20 minutes after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima produced in total 5–10 cm of black soot-filled rain in a 1-3 hour period.[15] Moreover, if the conditions are right, a large pyrocumulus can grow into a pyrocumulonimbus and produce lightning, which could potentially set off further fires. Apart from city and forest fires, pyrocumulus clouds can also be produced by volcanic eruptions due to the comparable amounts of hot buoyant material formed.

On a more continental and global extent, away from the direct vicinity of the fire, wildfire firestorms which produce [16][17][18][19] These are analogous to minor volcanic winters, with each mass addition of volcanic gases additive in increasing the depth of the "winter" cooling, from near-imperceptible to "year without a summer" levels.

City firestorms

The same underlying combustion physics can also apply to man-made structures such as cities during war or disaster.

Firestorms are thought to have been part of the mechanism of large urban fires, such as accompanied the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. Firestorms were also created by the firebombing raids of World War II in cities like Hamburg and Dresden.[20] Of the two nuclear bombing raids during the war only the atomic bombing of Hiroshima resulted in a firestorm.[1]

In contrast, experts suggest that due to the nature of modern U.S. city design and construction a firestorm is unlikely after a nuclear detonation.[21]

City / Event Date of the firestorm Notes
Bombing of Hamburg in World War II (Germany)[20] 27 July 1943 46,000 dead.[22] A firestorm area of

approximately 4.5 square miles (12 km2) was reported at Hamburg.[23]

Bombing of Kassel in World War II (Germany) 22 October 1943 9,000 dead. 24,000 dwellings destroyed. Area burned 23 square miles (60 km2); the percentage of this area which was destroyed by conventional conflagration and that destroyed by firestorm is unspecified.[24] Although a much larger area was destroyed by fire in Kassel than even Tokyo and Hamburg, the city fire caused a smaller less extensive firestorm than that at Hamburg.[25]
Bombing of Darmstadt in World War II (Germany) 11 September 1944 8,000 dead. Area destroyed by fire 4 square miles (10 km2). Again the percentage of this which was done by firestorm remains unspecified. 20,000 dwellings destroyed.[24]
Bombing of Dresden in World War II (Germany)[20] 13/14 February 1945 Up to 25,000 dead.[26] A firestorm area of approximately 8 square miles (21 km2) was reported at Dresden.[23] The attack was centred on the Ostragehege sports stadium, next to the city's medieval Altstadt (old town), with its congested, and highly combustible, timbered buildings.[27]
Bombing of Tokyo in World War II (Japan) 9–10 March 1945 The firebombing of Tokyo started many fires which converged into a devastating conflagration covering 16 square miles (41 km2). Although often described as a firestorm event,[28][29] the conflagration did not generate a firestorm as the high prevailing surface winds gusting at 17 to 28 mph (27 to 45 km/h) at the time of the fire override the fire's ability to form its own wind system.[30] These high winds increased by about 50% the damage done by the incendiary bombs.[31] There were 267,171 buildings destroyed, and between 83,793[32] and 100,000 killed,[33] making this the most lethal air raid in history, with destruction greater than that caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.[34][35] Prior to the attack the city had the highest population density of any industrial city in the world.[36]
Bombing of Ube, Yamaguchi (Japan) in World War II 1 July 1945 A momentary firestorm of about 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) was reported at Ube, Japan.[23] The reports that the Ube bombing produced a firestorm, along with computer modelling, have set one of the four physical conditions which a city fire must meet to have the potential of developing true firestorm effects. As the size of the Ube firestorm is the smallest ever confirmed. Glasstone and Dolan:
The minimum requirements for a firestorm to develop: no.4 A minimum burning area of about 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2).
— Glasstone and Dolan (1977).[37]
Atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Japan) 6 August 1945 Firestorm covering 4.4 square miles (11 km2).[38] No estimate can be given of the number of fire deaths, since the fire area was largely within the blast damage region.[39]


Braunschweig burning after aerial firebombing attack in 1944. Notice that a firestorm event has yet to develop in this picture, as single isolated fires are seen burning, and not the single large mass fire that is the identifying characteristic of a firestorm.

Firebombing is a technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs. Such raids often employ both incendiary devices and high explosives. The high explosive destroys roofs, making it easier for the incendiary devices to penetrate the structures and cause fires. The high explosives also disrupt the ability of firefighters to douse the fires.[20]

Although incendiary bombs have been used to destroy buildings since the start of gunpowder warfare, World War II saw the first use of strategic bombing from the air to destroy the ability of the enemy to wage war. London, Coventry, and many other British cities were firebombed during the Blitz. Most large German cities were extensively firebombed starting in 1942 and almost all large Japanese cities were firebombed during the last six months of World War II. As Sir Arthur Harris, the officer commanding RAF Bomber Command from 1942 through to the end of the war in Europe, pointed out in his post-war analysis, although many attempts were made to create deliberate man-made firestorms during World War II, few attempts succeeded:

"The Germans again and again missed their chance, ...of setting our cities ablaze by a concentrated attack. Coventry was adequately concentrated in point of space, but all the same there was little concentration in point of time, and nothing like the fire tornadoes of Hamburg or Dresden ever occurred in this country. But they did do us enough damage to teach us the principle of concentration, the principle of starting so many fires at the same time that no fire fighting services, however efficiently and quickly they were reinforced by the fire brigades of other towns could get them under control."
— Arthur Harris, [20]

According to physicist David Hafemeister, firestorms occurred after about 5% of all fire-bombing raids during World War II (but he does not explain if this is a percentage based on both Allied and Axis raids, or combined Allied raids, or U.S. raids alone).[40] In 2005, the American National Fire Protection Association stated in a report that three major firestorms resulted from Allied conventional bombing campaigns during World War II: Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo.[28] They do not include the comparatively minor firestorms at Kassel, Darmstadt or even Ube into their major firestorm category. Despite later quoting and corroborating Glasstone and Dolan and data collected from these smaller firestorms:

based on World War II experience with mass fires resulting from air raids on Germany and Japan, the minimum requirements for a firestorm to develop are considered by some authorities to be the following: (1) at least 8 pounds of combustibles per square foot of fire area (40 kg per square meter), (2) at least half of the structures in the area on fire simultaneously, (3) a wind of less than 8 miles per hour at the time, and (4) a minimum burning area of about half a square mile.
— Glasstone and Dolan (1977).[41]

Modern cities in comparison to World War II cities

A U.S. Air Force table showing the total number of bombs dropped by the Allies on Germany's seven largest cities during the entirety of World War II.[42]
City Population in 1939 American tonnage British tonnage Total tonnage
Berlin 4,339,000 22,090 45,517 67,607
Hamburg 1,129,000 17,104 22,583 39,687
Munich 841,000 11,471 7,858 19,329
Cologne 772,000 10,211 34,712 44,923
Leipzig 707,000 5,410 6,206 11,616
Essen 667,000 1,518 36,420 37,938
Dresden 642,000 4,441 2,659 7,100

Unlike the highly combustible World War II cities that firestormed from conventional and nuclear weapons, fire experts suggest that due to the nature of modern U.S. city design and construction, a firestorm is unlikely to occur even after a nuclear detonation.[21] The explanation for this is that highrise buildings do not lend themselves to the formation of firestorms due to the baffle effect of the structures,[1] nor are firestorms likely in areas where modern buildings have totally collapsed, with Hiroshima as an exception due to the nature of the densely packed "flimsy" wooden construction in the city in 1945.[43][44] There is also a sizable difference between the fuel loading of World War II cities that firestormed, including Hiroshima, and that of modern cities, where the quantity of combustibles per square meter in the fire area in the latter is below the necessary requirement for a firestorm to form (40 kg/m²).[45][46] Therefore, firestorms are not to be expected in modern US or Canadian cities following a nuclear detonation, nor are they expected to be likely in modern European cities.[47]

Table of the air raids on Dresden by the Allies during World War II.[42]
Date Target area Force Aircraft High explosive
bombs on target
bombs on target
Total tonnage
7 Oct 1944 Marshall Yards 8th AF 30 72.5 72.5
16 Jan 1945 Marshall Yards 8th AF 133 279.8 41.6 321.4
14 Feb 1945 City Area RAF BC 772 1477.7 1181.6 2659.3
14 Feb 1945 Marshall Yards 8th AF 316 487.7 294.3 782.0
15 Feb 1945 Marshall Yards 8th AF 211 465.6 465.6
2 Mar 1945 Marshall Yards 8th AF 406 940.3 140.5 1080.8
17 Apr 1945 Marshall Yards 8th AF 572 1526.4 164.5 1690.9
17 Apr 1945 Industrial Area 8th AF 8 28.0 28.0

Similarly, one reason for the lack of success in creating a true firestorm in the bombing of Berlin in World War II was that the building density, or builtupness factor, in Berlin was too low to support easy fire spread from building to building. Another reason was that much of the building construction was newer and better than in most of the old German city centers. Modern building practices in the Berlin of World War II led to more effective firewalls and fire-resistant construction. Mass firestorms never proved to be possible in Berlin. No matter how heavy the raid or what kinds of firebombs were dropped, no true firestorm ever developed.[48]

Nuclear weapons in comparison to conventional weapons

The incendiary effects of a nuclear explosion do not present any especially characteristic features. In principle, the same overall result with respect to destruction by fire and blast can be achieved by the use of conventional incendiary and high-explosive bombs.[49] It has been estimated, for example, that the same fire ferocity and damage produced at Hiroshima after the dropping of the Little Boy nuclear weapon (which yielded/released the same amount of energy as 16 kilotons of TNT) could have instead been produced by about 1200 tons/1.2 kilotons of incendiary bombs distributed over the city.[49][50]

It may seem counterintuitive that the same amount of fire damage caused by a nuclear weapon could have instead been produced by a smaller total yield of conventional incendiary bombs; however, World War II experience supports this assertion. For example, although not a perfect clone of the city of Hiroshima in 1945, in the conventional bombing of Dresden, the combined RAF and USAAF dropped a total of 3441.3 tons (approximately 3.4 kilotons) of ordnance (about half of which was incendiary bombs) on the night of 13–14 February 1945, and this resulted in "more than" 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of the city being destroyed by fire and firestorm effects according to one authoritative source,[51] or approximately 8 square miles (21 km2) by another.[23] In total about 4.5 kilotons of conventional ordnance was dropped on the city over a number of months during 1945 and this resulted in approximately 15 square miles (39 km2) of the city being destroyed by blast and fire effects.[52] In contrast, after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima where a single 16-kiloton nuclear bomb was dropped, 4.5 square miles (12 km2) of the city was destroyed by blast, fire and firestorm effects.[39] Similarly, Major Cortez F. Enloe, a surgeon in the USAAF who worked with the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), said that the 22-kiloton bomb dropped on Nagasaki did not do as much fire damage as the extended conventional airstrikes on Hamburg.[53]

Hiroshima after the bombing and firestorm. No known aerial photography of the firestorm exists.
Note the ambient wind blowing the fire's smoke plume inland. The firebombing of Tokyo on the night of 9–10 March 1945 was the single deadliest air raid of World War II,[54] with a greater total area of fire damage and loss of life than either nuclear bombing as a single event.[55][56] Due largely to the greater population density and fire conditions. 279 B-29 bombers dropped about 1700 tons of ordnance on target.[34]
Hiroshima aftermath. Despite a true firestorm developing, reinforced concrete buildings, as in Tokyo, similarly remained standing. Signed by the Enola Gay pilot, Paul W. Tibbets.
This Tokyo residential section was virtually destroyed. All that remained standing were concrete buildings in this photograph.

American historian Gabriel Kolko also echoed this sentiment:

During November 1944 American B-29's began their first incendiary bomb raids on Tokyo, and on 9 March 1945, wave upon wave dropped masses of small incendiaries containing an early version of napalm on the city's population. Soon small fires spread, connected, grew into a vast firestorm that sucked the oxygen out of the lower atmosphere. The bomb raid was a 'success' for the Americans; they killed 125,000 Japanese in one attack. The Allies bombed Hamburg and Dresden in the same manner, and Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and Tokyo again on May 24. In fact the atomic bomb used against Hiroshima was less lethal than massive fire bombing. Only its technique was novel, nothing more. There was another difficulty posed by mass conventional bombing, and that was its very success, a success that made the two modes of human destruction qualitatively identical in fact and in the minds of the American military. "I was a little fearful", Stimson told Truman, "that before we could get ready the Air Force might have Japan so thoroughly bombed out that the new weapon would not have a fair background to show its strength." To this the President "laughed and said he understood."[57]

This break from the linear expectation of more fire damage to occur after greater explosive yield is dropped can be easily explained by two major factors. First, the order of blast and thermal events during a nuclear explosion is not ideal for the creation of fires. In a conventional incendiary bombing raid, incendiary weapons followed after high-explosive blast weapons were dropped, in a manner designed to create the greatest probability of fires from a limited quantity of explosive and incendiary weapons. The so-called two-ton "cookies",[27] also known as "blockbusters", were dropped first and were intended to rupture water mains, as well as to blow off roofs, doors, and windows, creating an air flow that would feed the fires caused by the incendiaries that would then follow and be dropped, ideally, into holes created by the prior blast weapons, such into attic and roof spaces.[58][59][60] On the other hand, nuclear weapons produce effects that are in the reverse order, with thermal effects and "flash" occurring first, which are then followed by the slower blast wave. It is for this reason that conventional incendiary bombing raids are considered to be a great deal more efficient at causing mass fires than nuclear weapons of comparable yield. It is likely this led the nuclear weapon effects experts Franklin D'Olier, Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan to state that the same fire damage suffered at Hiroshima could have instead been produced by about 1 kiloton/1000 tons of incendiary bombs.[49][50]

The second factor explaining the non-intuitive break in the expected results of greater explosive yield producing greater city fire damage is that city fire damage is largely dependent not on the yield of the weapons used, but on the conditions in and around the city itself, with the fuel loading per square meter value of the city being one of the major factors. A few hundred strategically placed incendiary devices would be sufficient to start a firestorm in a city if the conditions for a firestorm, namely high fuel loading, are already inherent to the city (see Bat bomb). The Great Fire of London in 1666, although not forming a firestorm due to the single point of ignition, serves as an example that, given a densely packed and predominately wooden and thatch building construction in the urban area, a mass fire is conceivable from the mere incendiary power of no more than a domestic fireplace. On the other hand, the largest nuclear weapon conceivable will be incapable of igniting a city into a firestorm if the city's properties, namely its fuel density, are not conducive to one developing.

Despite the disadvantage of nuclear weapons when compared to conventional weapons of lower or comparable yield in terms of effectiveness at starting fires, for the reasons discussed above, nuclear weapons also do not add any fuel to a city, and fires are entirely dependent on what was contained in the city prior to bombing, in direct contrast to the incendiary device effect of conventional raids. One undeniable advantage of nuclear weapons over conventional weapons when it comes to creating fires is that nuclear weapons undoubtedly produce all their thermal and explosive effects in a very short space of time; that is, to use Arthur Harris's terminology, they are the epitome of an air raid guaranteed to be concentrated in "point in time". In contrast, early in World War II, the ability to achieve conventional air raids concentrated in "point of time" depended largely upon the skill of pilots to remain in formation, and their ability to hit the target whilst at times also being under heavy anti-aircraft fire from the air defensives of the cities below. Nuclear weapons largely remove these uncertain variables. Therefore, nuclear weapons reduce the question of whether a city will firestorm or not to a smaller number of variables, to the point of becoming entirely reliant on the intrinsic properties of the city, such as fuel loading, and predictable atmospheric conditions, such as wind speed, in and around the city, and less reliant on the unpredictable possibility of hundreds of bomber crews acting together successfully as a single unit.

See also

Potential firestorms

Portions of the following fires are often described as firestorms, but no reliable references, as of yet, corroborate this.


  1. ^ a b c American National Fire Protection Association (2005), Scawthorn, Charles; Eidinger, John M.; Schiff, Anshel J., eds., Fire Following Earthquake, Issue 26 of Monograph (American Society of Civil Engineers. Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering), American Society of Civil Engineers Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (illustrated ed.), ASCE Publications, p. 68,  
  2. ^ Alexander Mckee's Dresden 1945: The Devil's Tinderbox
  3. ^ A fire storm is characterized by strong to gale force winds blowing toward the fire everywhere around the fire perimeter and results from the rising column of hot gases over an intense, mass fire drawing in the cool air from the periphery. These winds blow the fire brands into the burning area and tend to cool the unignited fuel outside so that ignition by radiated heat is more difficult, thus limiting fire spread.PROBLEMS OF FIRE IN NUCLEAR WARFARE (1961)
  4. ^ a b Problems of fire in Nuclear Warfare 1961, pg 8 & 9.
  5. ^ Weaver Biko.
  6. ^ a b Gess & Lutz 2003, p. 234
  7. ^ Hemphill, Stephanie (27 November 2002). "Peshtigo: A Tornado of Fire Revisited". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved 22 July 2015. The town was at the center of a tornado of flame. The fire was coming from all directions at once, and the winds were roaring at 100 mph. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Glasstone, Samuel; Dolan, Philip J., eds. (1977), Chapter VII — Thermal Radiation and Its Effects""" (PDF), The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (Third ed.), United States Department of Defense and the Energy Research and Development Administration, pp. 229, 200, § "Mass Fires" ¶ 7.58 
  11. ^ SCOPE report, page 3
  12. ^ Fire-Breathing Storm Systems
  13. ^ Glasstone, Samuel; Dolan, Philip J., eds. (1977), Chapter VII — Thermal Radiation and Its Effects""" (PDF), The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (Third ed.), United States Department of Defense and the Energy Research and Development Administration, pp. 229, 200, § "Mass Fires" ¶ 7.59 
  14. ^ Kartman & Brown 1971, p. 48.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Fromm, M.; Stocks, B.; Servranckx, R.; et al. (2006). "Smoke in the Stratosphere: What Wildfires have Taught Us About Nuclear Winter".  
  17. ^ Fire-Breathing Storm Systems. NASA
  18. ^ Fromm, M.; Tupper, A.; Rosenfeld, D.; Servranckx, R.; McRae, R. (2006). "Violent pyro-convective storm devastates Australia's capital and pollutes the stratosphere". Geophysical Research Letters 33 (5).  
  19. ^ Russian Firestorm: Finding a Fire Cloud from Space. NASA Earth Observatory, 2010
  20. ^ a b c d e Harris 2005, p. 83
  21. ^ a b Page 24 of Planning Guidance for response to a nuclear detonation. Written with the collaboration of FEMA & NASA to name a few agencies.
  22. ^ Frankland & Webster 1961, pp. 260–261.
  23. ^ a b c d Exploratory analysis of Firestorms. pg 31
  24. ^ a b The Cold War Who won? pg 82 to 88 Chapter 18
  25. ^ Royal Air Force Bomber Command
  26. ^ Neutzner 2010, p. 70.
  27. ^ a b De Bruhl (2006), pp. 209.
  28. ^ a b American National Fire Protection Association 2005, p. 24.
  29. ^ . Japan Focus, 10 March 2005The night hell fell from the skyDavid McNeill. .
  30. ^ Rodden, Robert M.; John, Floyd I.; Laurino, Richard (May 1965). Exploratory analysis of Firestorms., Stanford Research Institute, pp. 39, 40, 53–54. Office of Civil Defense, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.
  31. ^ Werrell, Kenneth P (1996). Blankets of Fire. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 164.  
  32. ^ Michael D. Gordin (2007). Five days in August: how World War II became a nuclear war. Princeton University Press. p. 21.  
  33. ^ Technical Sergeant Steven Wilson (25 February 2010). "This month in history: The firebombing of Dresden".  
  34. ^ a b .March 1945U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology. Air Force Historical Studies Office. Retrieved 3 March 2009.
  35. ^ Freeman Dyson. (1 November 2006), "Part I: A Failure of Intelligence", Technology Review ( 
  36. ^ . Japan Focus, 2 May 2007A Forgotten Holocaust: US Bombing Strategy, the Destruction of Japanese Cities and the American Way of War from the Pacific War to IraqMark Selden. (English)
  37. ^ Glasstone & Dolan 1977, pp. 299, 200, ¶ 7.58.
  38. ^ McRaney & McGahan 1980, p. 24.
  39. ^ a b Exploratory analysis of Firestorms. pg 53
  40. ^ Hafemeister 1991, p. 24 (¶ 2nd to last).
  41. ^ Glasstone & Dolan 1977, pp. 299, 300, ¶ 7.58.
  42. ^ a b Angell (1953)
  43. ^ pg 32 of Exploratory analysis of Firestorms
  45. ^ On pg 31 of Exploratory analysis of Firestorms. It was reported that the weight of fuel per acre in several California cities is 70 to 100 tons per acre.(9) This amounts to about 3.5 to 5 pounds per square foot of fire area (~20 kg per square meter)
  46. ^ Canadian cities fuel loading from Validation of Methodologies to Determine Fire Load for Use in Structural Fire Protection 2011. On page 42, The mean fire load density in buildings, from the most accurate weighing method, was found to be 530 MJ/m^2. The fire load density of a building can be directly converted into building fuel load density as outlined in the document with Wood having a specific energy of ~18 MJ/kg. Thus 530/18 = 29 kg/m^2 of building fuel loading. This, again, is below the necessary 40kg/m^2 needed for a firestorm, even before the open spaces between buildings are included/before the corrective builtupness factor is applied and the all-important fire area fuel loading is found.
  47. ^ Determining Design Fires for Design-level and Extreme Events, SFPE 6th International Conference on Performance-Based Codes and Fire Safety Design Methods, 14–16 June 2006 On pg 3: The .90 fractile of buildings in Switzerland (that is 90% of buildings surveyed fall under the stated fire loading figure) had fuel loadings below the crucial 8 lb/sqft or 40 kg/m^2 density. The .90 fractile is found by multiplying the mean value found by 1.65. Keep in mind, none of these figures even take the builtupness factor into consideration, thus the all-important fire area fuel loading is not presented, that is, the area including the open spaces between buildings. Unless otherwise stated within the publications, the data presented is individual building fuel loadings and not the essential fire area fuel loadings. As a point of example, a city with buildings of a mean fuel loading of 40kg/m^2 but with a builtupness factor of 70%, with the rest of the city area covered by pavements, etc., would have a fire area fuel loading of 0.7*40kg/m^2 present, or 28 kg/m^2 of fuel loading in the fire area. As the fuel load density publications generally do not specify the builtupness factor of the metropolis where the buildings were surveyed, one can safely assume that the fire area fuel loading would be some factor less if builtupness was taken into account.
  48. ^ 'The Cold War: Who won? This ebook cites the firebombing reported in Horatio Bond's book Fire in the Air War National Fire Protection Association,1946, p. 125 - Why didn’t Berlin suffer a mass fire? The table on pg 88 of Cold War: Who Won? was sourced from the same 1946 book by Horatio Bond Fire in the Air War pg 87 and 598. ASIN: B000I30O32
  49. ^ a b c Glasstone, Samuel; Dolan, Philip J., eds. (1977), Chapter VII — Thermal Radiation and Its Effects""" (PDF), The Effects of Nuclear Weapons (Third ed.), United States Department of Defense and the Energy Research and Development Administration, pp. 300, § "Mass Fires" ¶ 7.61 
  50. ^ a b  
  51. ^
    • Angell (1953) The number of bombers and tonnage of bombs are taken from a USAF document written in 1953 and classified secret until 1978.
    • Bomber Command Arthur Harris's report, "Extract from the official account of Bomber Command by Arthur Harris, 1945", National Archives, Catalogue ref: AIR 16/487, which states that more than 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) were destroyed.
  52. ^
    • Angell (1953) The number of bombers and tonnage of bombs are taken from a USAF document written in 1953 and classified secret until 1978. Also see Taylor (2005), front flap, which gives the figures 1,100 heavy bombers and 4,500 tons.
  53. ^ "News in Brief". Flight: 33. 10 January 1946. 
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