Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Stacy A. Drury
    Date: 2019
    Source: Fire Ecology
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (716.0 KB)

    Description

    Background

    Fire managers tasked with assessing the hazard and risk of wildfire in Alaska, USA, tend to have more confidence in fire behavior prediction modeling systems developed in Canada than similar systems developed in the US. In 1992, Canadian fire behavior systems were adopted for modeling fire hazard and risk in Alaska and are used by fire suppression specialists and fire planners working within the state. However, as new US-based fire behavior modeling tools are developed, Alaskan fire managers are encouraged to adopt the use of US-based systems. Few studies exist in the scientific literature that inform fire managers as to the efficacy of fire behavior modeling tools in Alaska. In this study, I provide information to aid fire managers when tasked with deciding which system for modeling fire behavior is most appropriate for their use. On the Magitchlie Creek Fire in Alaska, I systematically collected fire behavior characteristics within a black spruce (Picea mariana [Mill.] Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.) ecosystem under head fire conditions. I compared my fire behavior observations including flame length, rate of spread, and head fire intensity with fire behavior predictions from the US fire modeling system BehavePlus, and three Canadian systems: RedAPP, CanFIRE, and the Crown Fire Initiation and Spread system (CFIS).

    Results

    All four modeling systems produced reasonable rate of spread predictions although the Canadian systems provided predictions slightly closer to the observed fire behavior. The Canadian fire behavior prediction modeling systems RedAPP and CanFIRE provided more accurate predictions of head fire intensity and fire type than BehavePlus or CFIS.

    Conclusions

    The most appropriate fire behavior modeling system for use in Alaskan black spruce ecosystems depends on what type of questions are being asked. For determining the rate of fire movement across a landscape, REDapp, CanFIRE, CFIS, or BehavePlus can all be expected to provide reasonably accurate estimates of rate of spread. If fire managers are interested in using predicted flame length or energy produced for informing decisions such as which firefighting tactics will be successful, or for evaluating the ecological impacts due to burning, then the Canadian fire modeling systems outperformed BehavePlus in this case study.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to psw_communications@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Drury, Stacy A. 2019. Observed versus predicted fire behavior in an Alaskan black spruce forest ecosystem: an experimental fire case study. Fire Ecology. 15: 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42408-019-0053-9.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Alaska, BehavePlus, Canadian FBP, CFIS, fire behavior modeling, fire behavior observations

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/59980