Canadian Forest Service Publications

Predicting the ignition of crown fuels above a spreading surface fire. Part I: model idealization. 2006. Cruz, M.G.; Butler, B.W.; Alexander, M.E.; Forthofer, J.M.; Wakimoto, R.H. International Journal of Wildland Fire 15(1): 47-60.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26054

Language: English

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

A model was developed to predict the ignition of forest crown fuels above a surface fire based on heat transfer theory. The crown fuel ignition model (hereafter referred to as CFIM) is based on first principles, integrating: (i) the characteristics of the energy source as defined by surface fire flame front properties; (ii) buoyant plume dynamics; (iii) heat sink as described by the crown fuel particle characteristics; and (iv) energy transfer (gain and losses) to the crown fuels. Fuel particle temperature increase is determined through an energy balance relating heat absorption to fuel particle temperature. The final model output is the temperature of the crown fuel particles, which upon reaching ignition temperature are assumed to ignite. CFIM predicts the ignition of crown fuels but does not determine the onset of crown fire spread per se. The coupling of the CFIM with models determining the rate of propagation of crown fires allows for the prediction of the potential for sustained crowning. CFIM has the potential to be implemented in fire management decision support systems.