Fire spread in a black spruce stand
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): A. D. Kiil
Publication Year: 1975

Cataloging Information

  • air temperature
  • Alberta
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • Cladonia
  • duff
  • fire control
  • fire danger rating
  • fire growth
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • fuel moisture
  • fuel types
  • Ledum groenlandicum
  • moisture
  • mosses
  • peat
  • Picea mariana
  • rate of spread
  • slash
  • sphagnum
  • succession
  • temperature
  • trees
  • understory vegetation
  • wildfires
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 34958
Tall Timbers Record Number: 9246
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File DDW
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.


'Fire Spread in a Black Spruce Stand.-The Canadian Forest Fire weather Index Tables consist of a family of relative fire danger indices that are used throughout Canada to assist in general fire control planning and operations. However, the fire manager must predict real fire behavior if he is to do a better job of prescribed burning in slash and in fire-fighting in different fuel types. Such absolute indices of fire behavior are gradually becoming available for several major fuel types (Muraro, 1971; Quintilio, 1972; Van Wagner, 1973) but there is presently no published information on fire growth and spread in black spruce, potentially an extremely flammable forest type found throughout the boreal forest region. The present study was designed to determine fire behavior in a black spruce [Picea mariana] stand during the critical incipient phase of fire growth. Also, an extensive field reconnaissance was carried out to assess the succcssional trends of vegetation on old burns in this forest type. A O.4-hectare plot, located in north-central Alberta, was burned on July 18, 1972 at high fire danger. The characteristics of the 50-year-old stand were: number of trees per hectare-597; diameter-5.6 cm; average tree height-4.4 m; average crown width-1.2 m. Thc 45-cm active layer of the forest floor above permafrost comprised primarily peat moss, with a surface laycr of Cladonia and Sphagnum species. Aside from an abundance of Labrador-tea [Ledum groenlandicum], there was little understory vegetation. Weights and moisture contents of the important fuels are given in table 1. Six rainfree days preceded the burn. Burning conditions at the time of the fire were: air temperature - 22.8C; relative humidity-38%; wind speed- 19.3 km/hr; Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC)-90; Duff Moisture Code (DMC)-29; Drought Code (DC)-230; Initial Spread Index (151)-11; Adjusted Duff Moisture Code (ADMC)-43; Fire Weather Index (FW1)-23.'

Kiil, A. D. 1975. Fire spread in a black spruce stand. Bi-Monthly Research Notes, v. 31, no. 1, p. 2-3.