Development and testing of models for predicting crown fire rate of spread in conifer forest stands
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Miguel G. Cruz; Martin E. Alexander; Ronald H. Wakimoto
Publication Year: 2005

Cataloging Information

  • active crown fire
  • boreal forests
  • CFIS - Crown Fire Initiation and Spread System
  • coniferous forests
  • crown fires
  • crowns
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • experimental fire
  • fine fuels
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • forest management
  • fuel moisture
  • fuel types
  • nonlinear regression analysis
  • overstory
  • passive crown fire
  • Picea mariana
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus resinosa
  • population density
  • rate of spread
  • size classes
  • stand characteristics
  • statistical analysis
  • surface fuels
  • wildfires
  • wind
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 5, 2019
FRAMES Record Number: 3832
Tall Timbers Record Number: 18389
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-C
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.


The rate of spread of crown fires advancing over level to gently undulating terrain was modeled through nonlinear regression analysis based on an experimental data set pertaining primarily to boreal forest fuel types. The data set covered a significant spectrum of fuel complex and fire behavior characteristics. Crown fire rate of spread was modeled separately for fires spreading in active and passive crown fire regimes. The active crown fire rate of spread model encompassing the effects of 10-m open wind speed, estimated fine fuel moisture content, and canopy bulk density explained 61% of the variability in the data set. Passive crown fire spread was modeled through a correction factor based on a criterion for active crowning related to canopy bulk density. The models were evaluated against independent data sets originating from experimental fires. The active crown fire rate of spread model predicted 42% of the independent experimental crown fire data with an error lower then 25% and a mean absolute percent error of 26%. While the models have some shortcomings and areas in need of improvement, they can be readily utilized in support of fire management decision making and other fire research studies.

[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. 2005. Development and testing of models for predicting crown fire rate of spread in conifer forest stands. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35(7):1626-1639.

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