Definition of a fire behavior model evaluation protocol: a case study application to crown fire behavior models
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Miguel G. Cruz; Martin E. Alexander; Ronald H. Wakimoto
Editor(s): Philip N. Omi; Linda A. Joyce
Publication Year: 2003

Cataloging Information

  • Canada
  • CFIS - Crown Fire Initiation and Spread System
  • Colorado
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • dead fuels
  • Douglas-fir
  • fire behavior models
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fuel management
  • fuel moisture
  • jack pine
  • lodgepole pine
  • model evaluation
  • overstory
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • ponderosa pine
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • rate of spread
  • size classes
  • statistical analysis
  • surface fuels
  • wildfires
  • wind
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 5, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 2222
Tall Timbers Record Number: 16118
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: A13.151/5:RMRS-P-29
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, 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.


Model evaluation should be a component of the model development process, leading to a better understanding of model behavior and an increase in its credibility. In this paper a model evaluation protocol is proposed that encompasses five aspects: 1) model conceptual validity, 2) data requirements for model validation, 3) sensitivity analysis, 4) predictive validation (incorporating statistical tests), and 5) model comparison. The proposed protocol was applied to evaluate fire behavior models that were developed to predict crown fire initiation and spread with potential application in fire management decision support systems. The evaluation protocol highlighted the limitations and the distinct behavior of the specific models and the implications of such limitations when applying those models to support fire management decision-making. The model limitations identified through these results helped the authors to characterize deficiencies in the state-of-knowledge of the determinant processes involved in crown fire behavior, thereby identifying pertinent research needs.

[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):
Link to this document (103 KB; pdf)
Cruz, Miguel G.; Alexander, Martin E.; Wakimoto, Ronald H. 2003. Definition of a fire behavior model evaluation protocol: a case study application to crown fire behavior models. Pages 49-68 In: Omi, P.N.; Joyce, L.A. (eds.). Fire, fuel treatments, and ecological restoration: conference proceedings, 2002 16-18 April. Proceedings RMRS-P-29. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

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