CFIS: a software tool for simulating crown fire initiation and spread
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Martin E. Alexander; Miguel G. Cruz; A. M. G. Lopes
Editor(s): Domingos Xavier Viegas
Publication Year: 2006

Cataloging Information

  • Canada
  • CFIS - Crown Fire Initiation and Spread System
  • crown fire behavior
  • crown fire occurrence
  • crowning
  • fire behavior prediction
  • fire modelling
  • FWI - Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System
  • rate of spread
  • spotting
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 5, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 2105


CFIS - which stands for Crown Fire Initiation and Spread - is a software tool or system incorporating several recently developed models designed to simulate crown fire behavior. The main outputs of CFIS are: (1) the likelihood of crown fire initiation or occurrence; (2) the type of crown fire (active vs. passive) and its rate of spread; and (3) the minimum spotting distance required to increase a fire's overall forward rate of spread. The onset of crowning can be predicted through two distinct approaches. One approach relies on the knowledge of canopy base height and certain components of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System and/or the 10-m open wind speed. The other approach requires the 10-m open wind, the estimated fine fuel moisture, fuel strata gap (or canopy base height), and an estimate of surface fuel consumption as inputs. Required inputs to predict crown fire rate of spread are 10-m open wind speed, estimated fine fuel moisture, and canopy bulk density. The minimum spotting distance to affect overall crown fire rate of spread, which assumes a point ignition and subsequent fire acceleration to an equilibrium rate of spread, requires the predicted crown fire spread rate and an ignition delay as inputs. The primary models incorporated into CFIS have been evaluated against experimental and wild fire observations with good results. CFIS has applicability as a decision support aid in a wide variety of fire management activities ranging from near-real time prediction of fire behavior to analyzing the impacts of fuel treatments on potential crown fire behavior.

[This publication is referenced in the "Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: volume I for fire managers" (Werth et al 2011).]

Online Link(s):
Alexander, Martin E.; Cruz, Miguel G.; Lopes, A.M.G. 2006. CFIS: a software tool for simulating crown fire initiation and spread. Proceedings of 5th International Conference on Forest Fire Research, 27-30 November 2006. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier B.V. pp. 1-13.