Crown Fire Initiation Spread (CFIS) System

    CFIS is a software tool incorporating several recently developed models designed to simulate crown fire behavior. The main outputs of CFIS are:

    1. the likelihood of crown fire initiation or occurrence;
    2. the type of crown fire (active vs. passive) and its rate of spread; and
    3. the minimum spotting distance required to increase a fire's overall forward rate of spread.

    The primary models incorporated into CFIS have been evaluated against experimental and wildfire observations. CFIS has applicability as a decision support aid in a wide variety of fire management activities ranging from near-real time prediction of fire behavior to analyzing the impacts of fuel treatments on potential crown fire behavior.

    More information

    The onset of crowning can be predicted through two distinct approaches. One approach relies on the knowledge of canopy base height and certain components of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System and/or the 10-m open wind speed. The other approach requires the 10-m open wind, the estimated fine fuel moisture, fuel strata gap (or canopy base height), and an estimate of surface fuel consumption as inputs. Required inputs to predict crown fire rate of spread are 10-m open wind speed, estimated fine fuel moisture, and canopy bulk density. The minimum spotting distance to affect overall crown fire rate of spread, which assumes a point ignition and subsequent fire acceleration to an equilibrium rate of spread, requires the predicted crown fire spread rate and an ignition delay as inputs.


    Martin E. Alexander
    University of New Brunswick
    curriculum vitae (pdf)

    Miguel G. Cruz
    CSIRO Bushfire Dynamics & Applications

    Get Adobe Reader

    UPDATED (September 2, 2015): Download CFIS software tool (exe; 6.8 MB)

    Download Canopy Fuel Stratum Characteristics Calculator (Cruz et al. 2003) Version 1.1 (xls; 350 kb)

    Download "Introducing the Canopy Fuel Stratum Characteristics Calculator" poster (pdf; 481 kb)

    Curious how CFIS outputs compare with NEXUS and FlamMap? Check out: Comparison of crown fire modeling systems used in three fire management applications (Scott 2006; RMRS-RP-58)

    Check out: JFSP Crown Fire Behavior Synthesis Project

    Get Adobe Reader