crown fire

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a forest fire that advances with great speed jumping from crown to crown ahead of the ground fire

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Slow recolonization of burned oak-juniper woodlands by Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei): ten years of succession after crown fire. Forest Ecology and Management 255:1057-1066.
The most common are surface fires (97.3%), while crown fires and underground fires amount only to 1% and 1.7%, respectively.
Table 16 shows that almost 98% of regions sensitive to crown fires are covered by plantations (78% of hardwood and 20% of softwood).
Unlike the high-elevation forests which experience low-frequency stand-replacing crown fires at typical return intervals of 200 to 400 years, most low-elevation forests in Wyoming appear to have evolved under high-frequency surface fires in the understory with return intervals averaging 20 to 30 years (Meyer et al.
(29) Wildfires are typically spread by fine fuels (30)--pine needles, leaves, grass, etc.--both on the surface and in the tree crowns (in a stand-replacement crown fire); these are known as 1-hour time lag fuels, because they dry out (lose two-thirds of their moisture content) in about an hour.
At present, fuel loads are so high that introducing fire on a broad scale is likely to result in many stand-replacing crown fires. Then, of course, there is the human footprint, including communities, residences within the urban-wildland interface, etc.
"Our efforts in fighting fires have allowed fuels to accumulate, so we now have devastating crown fires, producing such high-intensity heat that we can be left with hydrophobic, baked soils."
Four classes of burn severity that were easily discriminated in the field through 1991 were used to characterize heterogeneity of the 1988 fires: unburned (no sign of fire effects), light-surface burns (canopy trees generally survived and retained green needles, stems often were scorched, and soil organic layer remained largely intact); and severe-surface burns and crown fires (extensive tree mortality, soil organic layer completely consumed).
The prevalence of cone serotiny in many peninsular stands of sand pine underscores the historical role of periodic crown fires in maintaining these populations.
Large individual peaks would seem consistent with stand-replacement crown fires of the sort common in modern Picea forests, but such values might also represent surface fires; peaks of similar magnitude characterize the surface fires of presettlement northwestern Minnesota [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 4A, B OMITTED].
Periodic ground fires dispose of this accumulating tinder without harming the thick-barked trees, and this lessens the risk that the litter will eventually fuel "crown fires." These are unusually hot and fast-moving burns that can engulf entire trees in flames, killing whole stands of trees at once.
"We have had some severe fires in the past, but nothing with this many acres burned in crown fires."
During this period, crown fires became less frequent so that the average rate of spread decreased, but produced significantly greater flame heights when they did occur, increasing mean suppression difficulty.
A major grove can produce enough transpiring leaves to create a micro climate of cooler temperatures and higher humidities, capable of repelling crown fires that gobble adjacent pine and fir stands.
Fires at large spatial scales, such as stand-replacing crown fires, negatively impact tree squirrels by destruction of habitat and depletion of resources (Fisher and Wilkinson, 2005; Koprowski et al., 2006).