Canadian Forest Service Publications
Critical fire weather conditions during active fire spread days in Canada. 2023. Wang, X.; Oliver, J.; Swystun, T.; Hanes, C.C.; Erni, S.; Flannigan, M.D. Elsevier, Science of the Total Environment 869, page 1-12.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 40896
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A spread day is defined as a day in which fires grow a substantial amount of area; such days usually occur during high or extreme fire weather conditions. The identification and prediction of a spread day based on fire weather conditions could help both our understanding of fire regimes as well as forecasting and managing fires operationally. This study explores the relationships between fire weather and spread days in the forested areas of Canada by spatially and temporally matching a daily fire growth database to a daily gridded fire weather database that spans from 2001 to 2019. By examining the correlations between spread day fire weather conditions and location, conifer coverage (%), and elevation, we found that a spread day happens under less severe fire weather conditions as latitude increases for the entire study area and as conifer coverage increases within non-mountainous study areas. In the western mountain areas, however, with increasing conifer coverage more severe fire weather conditions are required for a spread day to occur. Using two modeling approaches, we were able to identify spread day indicators (generalized additive model) and to predict the occurrence of spread days (semi-binomial regression model) by Canadian Ecozones both annually and seasonally. Overall, Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC), Initial Spread Index (ISI), and Fire Weather Index (FWI) performed the best in all models built for spread day identification and prediction but varied depending on the conditions mentioned above. FFMC was the most consistent across all spatial and temporal scales.