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Canadian Fire Effects Model

The Canadian Fire Effects Model (CanFIRE) is a collection of Canadian fire behaviour models that calculates immediate or physical fire effects on forested, grass or slash stand characteristics.

CanFIRE originated as the Boreal Fire Effects (BORFIRE) research model. It studied the dynamics of changing fire regimes, forest carbon storage, carbon emissions and forest composition under climate change.

What CanFIRE does

CanFIRE calculates fire behaviour and fire effects for multiple forest stands or plots of land. The model can run many 'what-if' scenarios; including prescribed burn planning or estimating expected wildfire behaviour and impacts. It can also simulate the resulting or ecological fire effects on forest stand composition.

CanFIRE simulates fuel conditions at the forest stand level for six major boreal tree species (jack pine, black spruce, white spruce, aspen, balsam fir, white birch) and the grass fuel type. Forest stands can be pure or mixed in any combination and proportion of species. More species and fuel types are under research.

What CanFIRE needs as input

  • Canadian Forest Fires Weather Index (FWI) system parameters
  • Fuel load values for trees, grass, or slash from direct measures (e.g. prescribed burn data) or from estimations of forest inventory (wildfire applications)
  • Forest floor and dead woody debris fuel data that can be estimated from existing field surveys or databases

How CanFIRE is calculated

  • Fire rate of spread is calculated using Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction System equations and related procedures (e.g., foliar moisture content, BUI effect, etc.)
  • Fuel consumption is calculated using new Canadian fuel consumption models
  • Fire intensity is calculated using data from the Canadian fuel consumption models and Byram's (1959) equation [I=hwr]
  • Ecological effects are simulated using species-based fire ecology traits and mortality models

Have questions?

For more information about CanFIRE, contact

Canadian Forest Service publications

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