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Fire Characteristics Chart

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 behavior in a format suitable for inclusion in reports and presentations. Chart scales, colors, labels, and legends are customizable. More information, including installation files, publications, and training, is available on FRAMES.

The fire behavior characteristics chart displays modeled or observed fire behavior, showing the relationship among rate of spread, flame length, fireline intensity, an heat per unit area. Charts are available for both surface and crown fire behavior, which differ in the flame length models use. Fire bevahior characteristics charts aid communication and interpretion of fire behavior. They can be used to improve model understanding, prescribed fire planning, briefings, and case studies.

The fire danger characteristics chart displays the relationship among Spread Component, Energy Release Component, and Burning Index by plotting the three values as a single point. Indices calculated by FireFamilyPlus can be imported into the Fire Characteristics Chart program. Example applications include comparing fire seasons, weather stations, and fuel models.

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Image 1: Fire Characteristics Chart for surface fire

Image 2: Fire Characteristics Chart for fire danger rating

Image: Fire Characteristics Chart for surface fire
Image: Fire Characteristics Chart for fire danger rating
Modified: May 10, 2021

Select Publications & Products

The Fire Characteristics Chart program, publications, and other supporting material are available on FRAMES. The BehavePlus Software and Manuals web page includes the installation program. The BehavePlus Publications web page includes current and historic papers that describe the fire characteristics chart.

Andrews, Patricia. L.; Heinsch, Faith Ann; Schelvan, Luke. 2011. How to generate and interpret fire characteristics charts for surface and crown fire behavior. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-253. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station. 40 p.

Heinsch, Faith Ann; Andrews, Patricia L. 2010. Fire characteristics charts for fire behavior and U.S. fire danger rating. Proceedings of the 3rd Fire Behavior and Fuels Conferece; 2010 October 25-29, Spokane, WA. Birmingham, AL: International Association of Wildland Fire. 14 p.