The influence of weather and fuel type on the fuel composition of the area burned by forest fires in Ontario, 1996-2006
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): J. J. Podur; D. L. Martell
Publication Year: 2009

Cataloging Information

  • area burned
  • boreal forests
  • burn fraction
  • Canada
  • coniferous forests
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • flammability
  • forest fires
  • forest fuels
  • forest management
  • forest types
  • fuel management
  • fuel management
  • fuel types
  • grasses
  • Ontario
  • Picea
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Populus
  • Populus tremuloides
  • slash
  • statistical analysis
  • topography
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 47914
Tall Timbers Record Number: 23937
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-E
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.


Forest fires are influenced by weather, fuels, and topography, but the relative influence of these factors may vary in different forest types. Compositional analysis can be used to assess the relative importance of fuels and weather in the boreal forest. Do forest or wild land fires burn more flammable fuels preferentially or, because most large fires burn in extreme weather conditions, do fires burn fuels in the proportions they are available despite differences in flammability? In the Canadian boreal forest, aspen (Populus tremuloides) has been found to burn in less than the proportion in which it is available. We used the province of Ontario's Provincial Fuels Database and fire records provided by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to compare the fuel composition of area burned by 594 large (>40 ha) fires that occurred in Ontario's boreal forest region, a study area some 430 000 km2 in size, between 1996 and 2006 with the fuel composition of the neighborhoods around the fires. We found that, over the range of fire weather conditions in which large fires burned and in a study area with 8% aspen, fires burn fuels in the proportions that they are available, results which are consistent with the dominance of weather in controlling large fires. © 2009 by the Ecological Society of America. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Podur, J. J., and D. L. Martell. 2009. The influence of weather and fuel type on the fuel composition of the area burned by forest fires in Ontario, 1996-2006. Ecological Applications, v. 19, no. 5, p. 1246-1252.