Evaluating fire shelter performance in experimental crown fires
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Ted Putnam; Bret W. Butler
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • air temperature
  • black spruce
  • Canada
  • crown fires
  • field experimental fires
  • fire damage (property)
  • fire equipment
  • fire injuries (humans)
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire management planning
  • fire shelter
  • fire suppression
  • firefighting personnel
  • gases
  • humidity
  • ICFME - International Crown Fire Modeling Experiment
  • ignition
  • jack pine
  • mortality
  • Northwest Territories
  • photography
  • Picea mariana
  • Pinus banksiana
  • wind
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 22, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 4939
Tall Timbers Record Number: 17367
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.


Fire shelters are critical safety items required for use by most wildland firefighters in the United States. Most testing of fire shelters, clothing and other personal protective equipment (PPE) has been limited to prescribed fires or laboratory based studies. This study reports results from experiments where lined and unlined stainless steel or aluminum and glass fabric shelters were tested under high intensity crown fire conditions in and adjacent to experimental burn plots. Firefighter clothing and standard (pre-2003) fire shelters were also tested. Measured shelter surface and air temperatures and thermal impact on firefighter personal protective equipment were used to deduce the survivability of shelter designs and deployment location. Multiple glass and aluminum layered shelters show more promise than stainless steel shelters for improving overall fire shelter survivability. Data collected outside the burn plots generally indicate decreased heating as distance from forest edge increases, supporting the importance of maximizing distance from vegetation for survivability. It is recommended that common experiment protocols be adopted so that future research into fire shelter and PPE performance builds on work-to-date and provides a common basis from which analysis can be completed.

Online Link(s):
Putnam, T.; Butler, Bret W. 2004. Evaluating fire shelter performance in experimental crown fires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 34(8):1600-1615.

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