Crown fire

n. A wildland fire that burns forest canopy fuel (Scott and Reinhardt 2001).


  • Discussion


The term crown fire is used in reference to both true crown fires (referring to burning individual tree crowns, also called torching or passive crown fire) and canopy fires (referring to fires that burn the whole forest canopy as a single entity, which include active, continuous, and independent crown fires).




Wildland fires burning through shrub canopies, such as chaparral, pocosin, and oakbrush, are technically canopy fires because they burn in the shrub canopies. Nonetheless, by convention, we refer to those types as surface fires and model them with Rothermel's (1972) surface fire spread model. Use the term shrub-canopy fire in reference to fires that burn through shrub canopies to distinguish them from fires burning in tree canopies.


To aid in modeling and communication, crown fires are classified as passive, active, and independent crown fires or, in Canadian terminology, as intermittent or continuous crown fires.