Fire Management Systems

Decision support systems improve the effectiveness and efficiency of fire and forest management activities and increase the safety of planning and operations. FFS has a long history of producing and supporting systems for management use and must continue to engage in technology transfer in the form of system development. Advances in information technology, data, and modeling mean that new systems can be designed to meet emerging needs. Long-standing challenges can now reasonably be addressed, including the analysis of tradeoffs within fire management investments and between fire and the variety of land management activities (including fuel treatment and prescribed fire), as well as estimation of risk to highly valued resources. Effects of smoke and fire behavior on firefighter safety are of paramount concern for both the public as well as fire management personnel.

Projects in Fire Management Systems

Displaying 1 - 26 of 26
Climate Change on Global Fire Danger
2014-present
Wildfires occur at the intersection of dry weather, available fuel, and ignition sources. Weather is the most variable and largest driver of regional burned area. Temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, and wind speed independently influence wildland fire spread rates and intensities. The alignment of multiple weather extremes, such as the…
Deep Learning for High-Resolution Wildfire Modeling
2021-2026
Project Goals A major challenge for wildfire modelling is the ability to span the range of scales of fire phenomena. Fuel particle heat transfer and ignition occur over millimeters but wildfires impact landscapes and communities across kilometers. Even if the fine-scale physical processes of fire spread were well known, it is impractical to…
Describing Wildland Fuels
2012-Present
Considerable effort is expended to determine fuel loadings and to map those loadings across the landscape, yet there is little or no work being done to determine how to incorporate those measurements into the next generation of fire behavior models, such as physics-based models. Identifying critical spatial and temporal fuel characteristics…
Dry Lightning Strikes
2008-present
Mapping Potential Dry Lightning Strikes Dry lightning refers to strikes that produce 0.10 inch or less of rainfall nearby (or 0.25 inch east of the Mississippi River). This kind of lightning storm occurs frequently in the western U.S. during the summer months and is the most common source of natural wildland fire ignitions. Thus, being able to…
Evaluating Fuel Treatment Effectiveness
2013-present
Increasingly intense fire seasons, rapidly changing ecosystems, and an expanding wildland-urban interface all increase the hazard that fires pose to communities, watersheds, and ecosystems. Fuel treatments offer managers an opportunity to proactively mitigate threats to firefighters and communities as well as to maintain or restore healthy…
Fire Characteristics Chart
2009 - present
The fire characteristics chart is a graphical method of presenting primary surface or crown fire behavior characteristics or U.S. National Fire Danger Rating (NFDRS) indices. It is a stand-alone component of the BehavePlus fire modeling system. A desktop computer application produces fire characteristics charts for both fire danger and fire…
Firefighter Safety Zone Research
2010 -present
New research is focused on measuring and predicting the cumulative impact of convective and radiant energy transfer on safety zone size, shape, and location when the safety zone and/or fires are located on slopes or are burning under the influence of wind. Field measurements and a newly developed modeling tool (SSDE) are used to explore the…
FSim-Wildfire Risk Simulation Software
2007-present
Quantitative wildfire risk analysis requires complete geospatial coverage of fire impact probabilities and sizes. Wildfire simulation is the primary means of estimating these, including the frequency distribution of large fire events. FSim simulates the growth and behavior of hundreds of thousands of fire events for risk analysis across large land…
LANDFIRE – Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning
2004 - present
This multi-partner program produces consistent, comprehensive, geospatial data and databases that describe vegetation, wildland fuel, and fire regimes across the United States and insular areas. LF's mission is to provide agency leaders and managers with a common "all-lands" data set of vegetation and wildland fire/fuels information for strategic…
Long term wildfire management in areas near Chernobyl
2013 - present
This project examined natural and human drivers of wildfires in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl explosion. This project investigated the issue of radionuclide resuspension from wildland fires in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion. The work was originated from a scientific exchange among scientists from the USDA…
LSim forest landscape management model
2017- present
The Forest Vegetation Simulator was integrated with the FSim wildfire simulation model to conduct research on long term management and wildfire feedbacks. Forest landscape models (FLMs) are important tools used to address a wide range of forest management policy tradeoffs on public and private forests. Several recent studies using FLMs have…
Mapping and modeling fuels and fire at the Sycan Marsh, Oregon
2017 - present
The research being performed through multidisciplinary collaboration efforts at TNC’s Sycan Marsh Preserve in Oregon is providing much needed data for fuel mapping efforts by linking surface fuel datasets with TLS and UAS data pre, during, and post-fire. It also provides essential data for fire mapping and behavioral understanding of forest and…
National Fire Danger Rating System
1994-present
NFDRS applications involve two steps: a historical analysis to set appropriate fire danger breakpoints and an operational system to provide NFDRS fuel moistures and indices in real-time. Historical analyses are performed by combining fire weather and fire occurrence data in Fire Family Plus. Operational indices are produced by the Weather…
National Wildfire Risk Assessment
2017-2020
A wildfire risk assessment for the conterminous United States Working with the Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management program, the Fire Modeling Institute (FMI) has been working toward completing a wildfire risk assessment for all National Forest System lands in the conterminous U.S. The first iteration of this assessment was completed in…
Photoload - Visually estimating fuel loading
2005 - present
The Photoload method is a fuel sampling method  to quickly and accurately estimate loadings for six surface fuel components using downward-looking and oblique photographs depicting sequences of graduated fuel loadings by fuel component.  Estimates of fuel loadings in forest and rangeland ecosystems of the United States are critical for accurately…
Physics of Fire Spread
2009-present
Understanding the Physics of Fire Spread To better understand how wildland fire spreads under various conditions, the National Fire Decision Support Center, a collaborative effort between U.S. Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management and Research and Development, has supported ongoing research at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. The…
RiskMonitor
2023-present
The Forest Service Wildfire Crisis Strategy (WCS) sets ambitious goals to reduce risk to communities in the western United States by increasing fuel reduction treatments on and off Forest Service lands. A first step toward achieving these goals is to understand and quantify wildfire risk to the places people live and the critical infrastructure…
RxCadre Project
2012-present
Obtaining Integrated, Quality-assured Fuels, Fire, and Atmospheric Data for Development and Evaluation of Fuels, Fire Behavior, Smoke, and Fire Effects Models The lack of co-located, multi-scale measures of pre-fire fuels, active fire processes, and post-fire effects hinders our ability to tackle fundamental fire science questions. The lack of…
SERDP RC20-Closing Gaps
2020-present
This project responds to the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)’s FY 2020 Statement of Need: “DoD WILDLAND FIRE MANAGEMENT RESEARCH FOR IMPROVED MILITARY LAND USE”, for which the overarching objective was “to improve understanding of self-organization of convective structures and near-fire smoke plume development for…
Surface Wind Measurements
2010-present
There is a lack of high resolution measurements of wind speed and direction with which to test wind model accuracy.  This project is directed at collecting needed data sets in mountainous terrain. Wind predictions in complex terrain are important for a number of applications including wildland fire behavior, transport and dispersion of pollutants…
Surface Wind Modeling
2002 - present
High resolution surface wind modeling in support of fire management Wind can be the dominant environmental variable affecting wildland fire intensity and spread. When fire is burning in mountainous terrain, winds can vary widely in speed and direction over scales of 3 to 200 feet. The result is rapid changes in fire intensity at small scales that…
Understanding Fire Response to Spatial Variations in Vegetation and Wind
2019-present
Fire spread can be characterized as a continuous sequence of ignitions. Ignition is a local phenomenon, governed by complex interactions between fuel and environment. Seemingly insignificant changes in vegetation orientation or spacing can significantly affect the ignition process and result in fire either bridging a gap in fuels or extinguishing…
Wildfire Risk in the Sagebrush Biome
2020-present
A quantitative wildfire risk assessment is underway for the sagebrush biome in the western US to inform investments in hazardous fuel treatments, including those intended to protect sage-grouse habitat. Within the Great Basin alone, hundreds of thousands of acres of highly imperiled sagebrush ecosystems are lost or degraded each year as a result…
Wildfire Risk to Communities
2020-present
Wildfire Risk to Communities is a free, easy-to-use website with interactive maps, charts, and resources to help communities understand, explore, and reduce wildfire risk. The website was created by the USDA Forest Service under the direction of Congress and is designed to be a starting point to help community leaders, such as elected officials,…
Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS)
1990-present
The Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) collects and displays fire danger information for the United States. WFAS is currently based on weather observations taken at fire weather stations throughout the U.S. and entered into the Weather Information Management System (WIMS). NFDRS calculations are done at the National Computer Center at Kansas…
Wildland Fire Investment Planning System (WFIPS)
2016-Present
Purpose: The WFIPS system is intended to conduct risk-based analysis of fire management activities and wildfire outcomes for alternative investments in Preparedness, Hazardous Fuels, and Large Fire Suppression. Analysis occurs at user-specified scales from local (i.e. District, National Forests) to Regional and National for all lands and all…