Energy release rates, flame dimensions, and spotting characteristics of crown fires
Document Type: Journal
Author(s): Martin E. Alexander ; Miguel G. Cruz
Publication Year: 2014

Cataloging Information

  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • energy
  • energy release rate
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • flame front
  • flame length
  • forest management
  • rate of spread
  • spot fires
  • spotting
  • surface fires
  • wildfires
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 17772
Tall Timbers Record Number: 29879
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.32:73/4
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


When a fire in a conifer forest stand crowns, additional fuel is consumed primarily in the form of needle foliage but also in mosses and lichens, bark flakes, and small woody twigs. The additional canopy fuel consumed by a crown fire combined with the increase in rate of fire spread after crowning can easily lead to the quadrupling of fireline intensity and, in turn, a dramatic increase in flame size within a few seconds (for example: from 800 to 3,200 British thermal units/second-foot [Btu/sec-ft]). Spotting activity can also very quickly increase in both density and distance. in such cases, there is little wonder why crown fires just seem to literally 'blow up' (Byram 1959).

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Alexander, Martin E.; Cruz, Miguel G. 2014. Energy release rates, flame dimensions, and spotting characteristics of crown fires. Fire Management Today 73(4):24-27.