Predicted Crown Fire Risk Adds Incentive to Restore Open-Canopy Pine Barrens at the Wildland-Urban Interface

Jason T. Bried, Neil A. Gifford, Kevin M. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thinning forest to restore fire-dependent, open-canopy pine barrens is important for promoting shrubland and young forest biodiversity and wildlife habitat and to mitigate chances for extreme fire behavior. Crown fire potential at the wildland-urban interface is a concern in northeastern (USA) pine barrens which contain extremely volatile fuels adjacent to densely populated areas. We used the Crown Fire Initiation and Spread simulator to model pitch pine (Pinus rigida) crown fire potential under simulated stand density reductions to help develop strategies for long-term management and conservation of pine barrens communities. Empirical data for model inputs were collected from pitch pine stands at the Albany Pine Bush (New York State, USA). Canopy structure, surface fuel moisture, and wind speed were used to predict crown fire occurrence, type (active vs. passive), and rate-of-spread. At winds > 20 km hr−1and ≤ 9% fine fuel moisture, passive crown fire probabilities exceed 60%, and one stand near sensitive human infrastructure appears vulnerable to active crowning. Simulations suggest thinning to < 50 trees ha−110–30% mean canopy cover, or about 5–10 m2ha−1basal area to minimize crown fire threat and restore ecologically high-quality pine barrens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-167
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Sustainable Forestry
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Albany Pine Bush
  • canopy fuel
  • fire hazard mitigation
  • pitch pine-scrub oak barrens
  • urban fire ecology
  • young forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Predicted Crown Fire Risk Adds Incentive to Restore Open-Canopy Pine Barrens at the Wildland-Urban Interface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this