Canadian Fire Effects Model

Modeling wildland fire behaviour and fire effects

The Canadian Fire Effects Model (CanFIRE) is a compilation of Canadian fire behaviour models that are used to calculate first-order (immediate, physical) fire effects on stand characteristics, and to simulate the resulting second-order (later, ecological) fire effects on stand composition. CanFIRE originated as the Boreal Fire Effects (BORFIRE) research model to study the dynamics of changing fire regimes, forest carbon storage, emissions, and forest composition under climate change. In this web-based version of CanFIRE, the model is set-up to calculate fire behaviour and fire effects for an individual stand. In this way, the model can be used to run numerous 'what-if' scenarios for prescribed burn planning, or to quickly estimate expected wildfire behaviour and impacts.

CanFIRE simulates fuel conditions at the stand level for six major boreal tree species (jack pine, black spruce, white spruce, aspen, balsam fir, white birch) and the grass fuel type. Forest stands can be represented as pure or mixed stands in any combination and proportion of species. Additional species and fuel types are in development. CanFIRE is driven by Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System parameters, and fuel load values that can be obtained from direct measure (e.g., prescribed burn data) or estimated from forest inventory (wildfire applications). Forest floor and dead woody debris fuel data can be estimated from existing field surveys or databases. Fire rate of spread is calculated using Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction System equations and related procedures (e.g., foliar moisture content, BUI effect, etc). Fuel consumption is calculated using new Canadian fuel consumption models. Fire intensity is calculated using those data and Byram's (1959) equation [I=hwr]. Ecological effects are simulated using species-based fire ecology traits and mortality models.

CanFIRE will be released in two stages: CanFIRE-web v.1 will calculate fire behaviour (rate of spread, fuel consumption, fire intensity) and physical effects (emissions, depth of burn, crown scorch height and consumption); CanFIRE-web v.2 will also include ecological effects (tree mortality, post-fire regeneration, and annual estimates of successional trajectory by species composition, stand density, stand height, dbh).

Your feedback and suggestions to improve CanFIRE-web for operational applications are requested. Please send comments and questions about CanFIRE to Bill.deGroot@Canada.ca.

Bill de Groot
Canadian Forest Service
April 6, 2009





Related information:

de Groot, W.J., Bothwell, P.M., Carlsson, D.H., and Logan, K. 2002. Simulating the impacts of future fire regimes and fire management strategies on vegetation and fuel dynamics in western Canada using a boreal fire effects model (BORFIRE). Proceedings of the IV International Conference on Forest Fire Research (Nov. 18-23, 2002, Luso, Portugal). D.X. Viegas, ed. Millpress, Rotterdam. 244 pp.

de Groot, W.J., Bothwell, P.M., Carlsson, D.H., and Logan, K. 2003. Simulating the effects of future fire regimes on western Canadian boreal forests. Journal of Vegetation Science 14: 355-364.

de Groot, W.J. 2006. Modeling Canadian wildland fire carbon emissions. Proceedings of the IV International Conference on Forest Fire Research (Nov. 2006, Coimbra, Portugal). D.X. Viegas, ed. Millpress, Rotterdam

de Groot, W.J., Landry, R., Kurz, W., Anderson, K.R., Englefield, P., Fraser, R.H., Hall, R.J., Banfield, E., Raymond, D.A., Decker, V., Lynham, T.J., and Pritchard, J. 2007. Estimating direct carbon emissions from Canadian wildland fires. International Journal of Wildland Fire 16: 593-606.

de Groot, W.J., Pritchard, J.M., and Lynham, T.J. 2009. Forest floor fuel consumption and carbon emissions in Canadian boreal forest fires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39: 367-382.

Naldor, I.A., Wein, R.W., Alexander, M.E. and de Groot, W.J. 1997. Physical properties of dead and downed round-wood fuels in the boreal forests of Alberta and Northwest Territories. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 27: 1513-1517.

Naldor, I.A., Wein, R.W., Alexander, M.E. and de Groot, W.J. 1999. Physical properties of dead and downed round-wood fuels in the boreal forests of western and northern Canada. International Journal of Wildland Fire 9: 85-99.