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A smouldering fire burns slowly and without flames, posing a significant danger as it can spread unnoticed and even burn underground. Source: FAO Strategy on Forest Fire Management
Surface fires burn surface litter, other loose debris of the forest floor, and small vegetation. A surface fire may and often does burn up into the taller vegetation and the free crowns as it progresses. Source: Forestry - Fire Control, Detection, Suppression, and Prescribed Burning | Britannica
Crown fires burn the aerial fuels and spread from treetop to treetop—also known as the crown or canopy of trees. Unlike surface fires, which spread more slowly, crown fires spread at a rapid pace. Source: Active Crown Fire Behavior | NWCG