Fires may consume different fuels due in large part to the vertical and horizontal distribution of plant structures. 'Surface fires' are spread by fuels that are on the ground, which can be either living herbaceous biomass or dead leaf and stem material. Often these occur in forests where the trees hold their canopies aloft and out of reach of the flames. Alternatively, 'crown fires' burn in the canopies of trees or shrubs. Forests are commonly characterized by either a surface fire or crown fire regime, but in other forests mixtures of both fire types occur. Sometimes fires burn through organic matter underground and these are termed 'ground fires', which spread slowly and can last for months, particularly on sites with peat substrate such as swamps during severe droughts.
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