News from Fire Research: The International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment – an Update (IFFN No. 21 – September 1999)


The International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment – an Update

(IFFN No. 21 – September 1999,p. 89-90)

The third phase of the International Crown Fire Modelling Experiment (ICFME) was successfully completed in late June and early July of 1999 near Fort Providence in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Designed primarily to develop knowledge and data essential to predicting the initiation and propagation of high-intensity crown fires, ICFME has been expanded to include the evaluation of personal protective equipment (including fire shelters), smoke chemistry analyses, investigations into the effect of fuels modification on fire behaviour, and the assessment/evaluation of community housing fire protection standards.

Conducted under the auspices of the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA) and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP), and coordinated by the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), and the United States Forest Service (USFS), the ICFME has brought together 50-70 research and operational personnel annually during the past three years. In addition to CFS, GNWT and USFS participants, researchers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Commonwealth Society of Industrial Research Organizations (CSIRO) in Australia, the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) in Germany, and universities in Canada, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, and South Africa have participated. The GNWT and the community of Fort Providence have provided the cooperation and logistical support necessary to undertake this large research endeavour.

To date, eleven successful crown fires have been conducted (three in 1997, two in 1998, and six in 1999). These have been the most complex and heavily-instrumented experimental crown fires ever conducted in the northern hemisphere, and a large amount of data has been successfully gathered. This data is currently being evaluated, and a data reduction workshop which will involve all key participants is scheduled for December 1999. Data and knowledge gaps identified at this workshop will be addressed next summer in the final phase of ICFME. Background information, summary progress reports, media coverage, and selected photography from the ICFME is available at the ICFME Home Page (

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Fig.1. Aerial view of the ICFME experimental plots in the Northwest Territories, Canada.


Submitted by the ICFME Co-Coordinators:

B.J. Stocks, Canadian Forest Service (CFS)
M.E. Alexander (CFS), and
R.A. Lanoville, Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT)

ICFME Home Page:


Brian J.Stocks
Senior Research Scientist
Forest Fire and Global Change
Canadian Forest Service
Natural Resources Canada
1219 Queen Street East
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 5M7

Fax: ++1-705-759-5700
Tel: ++1-705-759-5740-2181

IFFN No. 21

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