Fuel types and crown fire potential in Pinus halepensis forests

Albert Alvarez, Marc Gracia, Javier Retana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


There is a lack of knowledge to identify and classify forest structures according to the risk of crown fires, especially in Mediterranean regions. In this study, for the first time, we use real information, obtained after a wildfire that burnt under extreme meteorological conditions, to classify forest structures of Pinus halepensis into fuel types as a function of crown fire potential. We identified fourteen forest structures which characterize many forest types in Western Mediterranean areas depending on canopy closure, number of tree layers, percent of each tree layer and overall tree density. By using the pattern of fire types that burnt the most numerous forest structures, we have identified four fire hazard groups of forest structures which are considered different fuel types. The first two had the lowest risk of active crown fires and they differed in the proportion of surface fires and passive crown fires. The third fuel type was the threshold between structures with low and high extreme fire behavior; while the fourth had a high risk of active crown fires. Firefighters and forest managers who are demanding this kind of schema, will test and upgrade this classification of fuel types in function of crown fire potential during future wildfires. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-474
JournalEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


  • Crown fire
  • Fire type
  • Forest structure
  • Fuel type
  • Pinus halepensis
  • Stand characteristics


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