Fire weather index system components for large fires in the Canadian boreal forest

B. D. Amiro, K. A. Logan, B. M. Wotton, M. D. Flannigan, J. B. Todd, B. J. Stocks, D. L. Martell
2004 International journal of wildland fire  
Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI) System components and head fire intensities were calculated for fires greater than 2 km2 in size for the boreal and taiga ecozones of Canada from 1959 to 1999. The highest noon-hour values were analysed that occurred during the first 21 days of each of 9333 fires. Depending on ecozone, the means of the FWI System parameters ranged from: fine fuel moisture code (FFMC), 90 to 92 (82 to 96 for individual fires); duff moisture code (DMC), 38 to 78 (10 to 140 for
more » ... ividual fires); drought code (DC), 210 to 372 (50 to 600 for individual fires); and fire weather index, 20 to 33 (5 to 60 for individual fires). Fine fuel moisture code decreased, DMC had a mid-season peak, and DC increased through the fire season. Mean head fire intensities ranged from 10 to 28 MW m−1 in the boreal spruce fuel type, showing that most large fires exhibit crown fire behaviour. Intensities of individual fires can exceed 60 MW m−1. Most FWI System parameters did not show trends over the 41-year period because of large inter-annual variability. A changing climate is expected to create future weather conditions more conducive to fire throughout much of Canada but clear changes have not yet occurred.
doi:10.1071/wf03066 fatcat:ppmg4xwygva4rm5j4pzaqymqyi