This paper reports on the behaviour of 10 experimental crown fires conducted between 1997 and 2000 during the International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment (ICFME) in Canada's Northwest Territories. The primary goal of ICFME was a replicated series of high-intensity crown fires designed to validate and improve existing theoretical and empirical models of crown fire behaviour. Fire behaviour characteristics were typical for fully developed boreal forest crown fires, with fires advancing at 15-70 m/min, consuming significant quantities of fuel (2.8-5.5 kg/m2) and releasing vast amounts of thermal heat energy. The resulting flame fronts commonly extended 25-40 m above the ground with head fire intensities up to 90,000 kW/m. Depth of burn ranged from 1.4-3.6 cm, representing a 25%-65% reduction in the thickness of the forest floor layer. Most of the smaller diameter (<3.0 cm) woody surface fuels were consumed, along with a significant proportion of the larger downed woody material. A high degree of fuel consumption occurred in the understory and overstory canopy with very little material less than 1.0 cm in diameter remaining. The documentation of fire behaviour, fire danger, and fire weather conditions carried out during ICFME permitted the evaluation of several empirically based North American fire behaviour prediction systems and models.
[This publication is referenced in the "Synthesis of knowledge of extreme fire behavior: volume I for fire managers" (Werth et al 2011).]