Conditions for the start and spread of crown fire
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Charles E. Van Wagner
Publication Year: 1977

Cataloging Information

  • Abies balsamea
  • Canada
  • conifer forest
  • crown fire
  • crown fuels
  • experimental areas
  • field experimental fires
  • fire ignition
  • fire spread
  • fire weather
  • fuel moisture
  • Ontario
  • pine forests
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Pinus resinosa
  • Pinus strobus
  • plantations
  • rate of spread
  • season of fire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 10, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 5319
Tall Timbers Record Number: 5681
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.


Some theory and observations are presented on the factors governing the start and spread of crown fire in conifer forests. Crown fires are classified in three ways according to the degree of dependence of the crown phase of the fire on the ground surface phase. The crown fuel is pictured as a layer of uniform bulk density and height above ground. Simple criteria are presented for the initiation of crown combustion and for the minimum rates of spread and heat transfer into the crown combustion zone at which the crown fire will spread. The theory is partially supported by some observations in four kinds of conifer forest.

[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):
Van Wagner, C.E. 1977. Conditions for the start and spread of crown fire. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 7(1):23-34.