Published data on two sets of experimental fires in jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.) forest were subjected to two forms of analysis. The first was a classification into surface fires and two kinds of crown fire, passive and active. In the second, the data were used to develop a model to predict both the spread rate of fire and the degree of crown consumption. The model consists mainly of two limiting equations for spread rate, one for surface fires and the other for full crowning fires; the independent variable is the Canadian Initial Spread Index. A critical surface intensity is first used to distinguish surface fires from crowning fires. A further process then estimates the degree of crowning and places the calculated final spread rate somewhere in the space between the limiting equations. The model inputs include six physical stand properties plus a pre-estimate of surface fuel consumption. It is a blend of physical theory and empirical observation.
[This publication is referenced in the "Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: volume I for fire managers" (Werth et al 2011).]