Assessing canopy fuel stratum characteristics in crown fire prone fuel types of western North America
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Miguel G. Cruz; Martin E. Alexander; Ronald H. Wakimoto
Publication Year: 2003

Cataloging Information

  • Abies grandis
  • Abies lasiocarpa
  • biomass
  • Canada
  • canopy base height
  • canopy fuel load
  • CBD - canopy bulk density
  • CFIS - Crown Fire Initiation and Spread System
  • computer program
  • crown fire behavior
  • crown fires
  • crown fuel dynamics
  • fire control
  • fire danger rating
  • fire management
  • foliage
  • forest management
  • fuel loading
  • fuel types
  • hardwood forest
  • overstory
  • Picea engelmannii
  • Picea glauca
  • Picea mariana
  • pine forests
  • Pinus albicaulis
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus monticola
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • plant growth
  • population density
  • Populus tremuloides
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • rate of spread
  • size classes
  • statistical analysis
  • Thuja plicata
  • Tsuga heterophylla
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 5, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 3830
Tall Timbers Record Number: 14780
TTRS Location Status: In-file
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.


Application of crown fire behavior models in fire management decision-making have been limited by the difficulty of quantitatively describing fuel complexes, specifically characteristics of the canopy fuel stratum. To estimate canopy fuel stratum characteristics of four broad fuel types found in the western United States and adjacent areas of Canada, namely Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and lodgepole pine forest stands, data from the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database were analysed and linked with tree-level foliage dry weight equations. Models to predict canopy base height (CBH), canopy fuel load (CFL) and canopy bulk density (CBD) were developed through linear regression analysis and using common stand descriptors (e.g. stand density, basal area, stand height) as explanatory variables. The models developed were fuel type specific and coefficients of determination ranged from 0.90 to 0.95 for CFL, between 0.84 and 0.92 for CBD and from 0.64 to 0.88 for CBH. Although not formally evaluated, the models seem to give a reasonable characterization of the canopy fuel stratum for use in fire management applications.

[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):
Cruz, Miguel G.; Alexander, Martin E.; Wakimoto, Ronald H. 2003. Assessing canopy fuel stratum characteristics in crown fire prone fuel types of western North America. International Journal of Wildland Fire 12(1):39-50.