Interdependencies between flame length and fireline intensity in predicting crown fire initiation and crown scorch height
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Martin E. Alexander; Miguel G. Cruz
Publication Year: 2012

Cataloging Information

  • Africa
  • air temperature
  • Asia
  • backfires
  • bark
  • Canada
  • char
  • char height
  • combustion
  • crown fires
  • crown scorch
  • crown scorch height
  • Douglas-fir
  • eucalyptus
  • fine fuels
  • fire impacts
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fire modeling
  • firebreaks
  • first-order fire effects
  • flame angle
  • flame depth
  • flame front residence time
  • flame length
  • fuel management
  • fuel moisture
  • fynbos
  • grasslands
  • headfires
  • heat
  • humidity
  • ignition
  • ignition pattern
  • jack pine
  • jarrah
  • literature review
  • litter
  • loblolly pine
  • lodgepole pine
  • longleaf pine
  • maritime pine
  • overstory
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus contorta
  • Pinus echinata
  • Pinus palustris
  • Pinus pinaster
  • Pinus taeda
  • precipitation
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • rate of spread
  • savannas
  • shortleaf pine
  • shrublands
  • shrubs
  • slash
  • statistical analysis
  • stem-bark char height
  • surface fire
  • surface fires
  • thinning
  • understory vegetation
  • wildfires
  • wind
JFSP Project Number(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 8, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 50456
Tall Timbers Record Number: 27061
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals - I
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.


This state-of-knowledge review examines some of the underlying assumptions and limitations associated with the inter-relationships among four widely used descriptors of surface fire behaviour and post-fire impacts in wildland fire science and management, namely Byram's fireline intensity, flame length, stem-bark char height and crown scorch height. More specifically, the following topical areas are critically examined based on a comprehensive review of the pertinent literature: (i) estimating fireline intensity from flame length; (ii) substituting flame length for fireline intensity in Van Wagner's crown fire initiation model; (iii) the validity of linkages between the Rothermel surface fire behaviour and Van Wagner's crown scorch height models; (iv) estimating flame height from post-fire observations of stem-bark char height; and (v) estimating fireline intensity from post-fire observations of crown scorch height. There has been an overwhelming tendency within the wildland fire community to regard Byram's flame length-fireline intensity and Van Wagner's crown scorch height-fireline intensity models as universal in nature. However, research has subsequently shown that such linkages among fire behaviour and post-fire impact characteristics are in fact strongly influenced by fuelbed structure, thereby necessitating consideration of fuel complex specific-type models of such relationships.

Alexander, Martin E.; Cruz, Miguel G. 2012. Interdependencies between flame length and fireline intensity in predicting crown fire initiation and crown scorch height. International Journal of Wildland Fire 21(2):95-113.