FireWorks for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern Cascades - E04: How Wildland Fires Spread 1: Experiment with a Matchstick Forest
Course Type: FireWorks activities
Availability: Public access
Author(s): FireWorks Educational Program
  • Ilana L. Abrahamson
    US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program
Date Created: October 12, 2017

Cataloging Information

  • crown fire
  • fire spread
  • slope
  • stand density
Partner Site(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 17, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 25024


Lesson Overview: Students use a physical model to learn how slope and the density of trees (or other kinds of standing fuels) affect fire spread.

Lesson Goal: Increase students’ understanding of wildland fire spread in forests and other kinds of standing fuels.


  • Students can apply their theoretical understanding of the Fire Triangle (from Unit II) to a physical model of a forest stand.
  • Students can understand how slope and density of trees (or other standing fuels) affect fire spread.
  • Students can illustrate on a diagram how fire is likely to spread and why.