Measurements of radiant emissive power and temperatures in crown fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Bret W. Butler; Jack D. Cohen; Donald J. Latham; Robert D. Schuette; Paul Sopko; Kyle S. Shannon; Daniel M. Jimenez; Larry S. Bradshaw
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • black spruce
  • boreal forest
  • Canada
  • crown fire
  • fire intensity
  • heat transfer
  • ICFME - International Crown Fire Modeling Experiment
  • jack pine
  • Northwest Territories
  • Picea mariana
  • Pinus banksiana
  • radiant heat
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Record Last Modified: March 27, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 3641


This study presents spatially and temporally resolved measurements of air temperatures and radiant energy fluxes in a boreal forest (Pinus banksiana-Picea mariana) crown fire in Northwest Territories, Canada. Measurements were collected 3.1, 6.2, 9.2, 12.3, and 13.8 m above the ground surface. Peak air temperatures exceeded 1330 degrees C, and maximum radiant energy fluxes occurred in the upper third of the forest stand and reached 290 kW m-2. Average radiant flux from the flames across all experiments was found to be approximately 200 kW m-2. Measured temperatures showed some variation with vertical height in the canopy. Equivalent radiometric temperatures calculated from radiant heat flux measurements exceeded thermocouple-based temperatures for all but the 10-m height, indicating that fire intensity estimates based on thermocouple measurements alone may result in underestimation of actual radiant intensity. Data indicate that the radiative energy penetration distance is significantly longer in the forest canopy than in the lower levels of the forest stand.

Online Link(s):
Butler, Bret W.; Cohen, Jack D.; Latham, Donald J.; Schuette, R. D.; Sopko, P.; Shannon, K. S.; Jimenez, D.; Bradshaw, Larry S. 2004. Measurements of radiant emissive power and temperatures in crown fires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34(8):1577-1587.

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