Fire behavior in black spruce-lichen woodland: the Porter Lake project
Document Type: Report
Author(s): Martin E. Alexander; Brian J. Stocks; Bruce D. Lawson
Publication Year: 1991

Cataloging Information

  • black spruce
  • bulk density
  • Canada
  • crown fire
  • ISI - CFFDRS Initial Spread Index
  • lichen
  • Northwest Territories
  • Picea mariana
  • Porter Lake
  • ROS - rate of spread
  • surface fire
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: May 13, 2022
FRAMES Record Number: 5469


The behavior of single point-ignition and line-ignition experimental fires was studied in upland black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.] B.S.P.)-lichen (Stereocaulon paschale [L.] Hoffm.) woodland stands at Porter Lake in the Caribou Range of the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) from June 26 to July 8, 1982. The experimental burning project objective was to relate the head fire rate of spread (ROS) in this fuel type to the Initial Spread Index (ISI) component of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System. The experimental fire plots varied from 0.02 to 0.65 ha in size. The live tree overstory averaged about 1200 stems/ha and 5.0 m in height. The lichen layer averaged about 3.5 cm in depth. Three point-ignition fires, seven line-ignition fires, and one wildfire (CR-6-82) were documented over a wide range of burning conditions. The ensuing fire behavior varied from creeping surface fires to full-fledged crown fires. Head fire spread rates from 0.6 to 51.4 m/min were observed and frontal fire intensities of nearly 33,000 kW/m were attained. A relationship for equilibrium fire spread in black spruce-lichen woodland stands was established. The experimental fire data gathered during the Porter Lake project presently forms the basis for the quantitative prediction of fire behavior in the spruce-lichen woodland fuel type as currently incorporated into the system of forest fire danger rating used in Canada.

Online Link(s):
Alexander, Martin E.; Stocks, Brian J.; Lawson, Bruce D. 1991. Fire behavior in black spruce-lichen woodland: the Porter Lake project. Information Report NOR-X-310. Edmonton, Alberta: Canadian Forest Service, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Centre. 44 p.