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Fire Behaviour Research and Documentation Tools

NWT Crown.jpg

Fire Behaviour - The manner in which fuel ignites, flame develops, and fire spreads and exhibits other related phenomena as determined by the interaction of fuels, weather, and topography.

(CIFFC Glossary of Forest Fire Management Terms)

Research - diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc.

Documentationa furnishing with documents, as to substantiate a claim or the data in a book or article.

Overview (Rationale)

Since the inception of formal fire behaviour research in Canada in the early 1920s, several research programs and documented projects have contributed to the development of nationally recognized and implemented wildfire management tools. (McAlpine et al. 1990) While the data collection and documentation methodologies that constitute the vast array of fire behaviour research have been refined over the years, much of the basic field observation and data collection processes remain very valid methodologies.

A large contributor to the success of almost a century of fire behaviour research and effective technology transfer within the fire behaviour community is the application of universally adopted and implemented data collection methodologies. An underlying objective of this website is to further the consistent application of standardized fire behaviour research methodologies through the summary and presentation of research documents that exemplify solid fire behaviour research methodologies.

FP Innovations Wildland Fire Operations Research Group (WFORG) provides fire behaviour research assistance to various wildfire management agencies through the application of consistent, peer approved fire behaviour research and documentation tools. While project scope and objectives of fire behaviour research projects often differ, consistent FB observation, data collection and documentation methodologies are critical to producing credible research results.

Continued implementation of consistent fire behaviour research and documentation tools will assist FP Innovations in providing research services in a time efficient and cost effective manner. Consistent data collection methodologies and documentation will contribute to enhanced knowledge and research transfer.

The documented methodologies, documents, and resources compiled in this project will offer new researchers an introduction to standard practices and assist them in developing research work plans. Other wildfire management agencies or research groups can access this information in order to develop and implement their FB research programs.

Pre-established methodologies will aid researchers in efficient preparation of work plans, expedient deployment to fire behaviour research projects and complete and concise documentation of research results.

This compilation of FB research and documentation tools is a ‘work in progress’ and will be updated as new technology and methodologies are adopted for FB research.


Fire Behaviour Data Collection

Fire Intensity

Fire Weather

Fuel Consumption

Fuel Loading

Fuel Moisture Content

Ignition Probability

Rate of Spread

Video and Photography

Sources for Fire Behaviour Research Documentation

FPInnovations Wildfire Research Group web site


McAlpine, R.S.; Stocks, B.J.; Van Wagner, C.E.; Lawson, B.D.; Alexander, M.E.; Lynham, T.J. 1990. Forest fire behavior research in Canada. Pages A.02-1-A.02-12 in Proceedings of the International Conference on Forest Fire Research, November 19-22, 1990, Coimbra, Portugal. International Conference on Forest Fire Research, Coimbra, Portugal.

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