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Assessing canopy fuel stratum characteristics in crown fire prone fuel types of western North America

Author(s): Martin E. Alexander, Ronald H. Wakimoto
Year Published: 2003

Application of crown fire behavior models in fire management decision-making have been limited by the difficulty of quantitatively describing fuel complexes, specifically characteristics of the canopy fuel stratum. To estimate canopy fuel stratum characteristics of four broad fuel types found in the western United States and adjacent areas of Canada, namely Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, and lodgepole pine forest stands, data from the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database were analysed and linked with tree-level foliage dry weight equations. Models to predict canopy base height (CBH), canopy fuel load (CFL) and canopy bulk density (CBD) were developed through linear regression analysis and using common stand descriptors (e.g. stand density, basal area, stand height) as explanatory variables. The models developed were fuel type specific and coefficients of determination ranged from 0.90 to 0.95 for CFL, between 0.84 and 0.92 for CBD and from 0.64 to 0.88 for CBH. Although not formally evaluated, the models seem to give a reasonable characterization of the canopy fuel stratum for use in fire management applications.

Citation: Cruz, Miguel G.; Alexander, Martin E.; Wakimoto, Ronald H. 2003. Assessing canopy fuel stratum characteristics in crown fire prone fuel types of western North America. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 12(1): 39-50.
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Data Evaluation or Data Analysis for Fire Modeling, Simulation Modeling
Ecosystem(s): Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest, Montane dry mixed-conifer forest, Ponderosa pine woodland/savanna
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Hot Topic(s): Fire Behavior Prediction
NRFSN number: 7917
FRAMES RCS number: 3830
Record updated: Jun 21, 2018