Fuel treatment is mandated by the need to protect communities and municipal watersheds and manage ecosystems. Analysis to support fuel treatment decisions is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (1969). As pointed out in the 1998 Joint Fire Science Plan, “managers need better information on the distribution and amount of fuels across vegetation types, as well as the impacts of these fuel structures and changing fire regimes on fire hazard, potential fire severity, and ecosystem structure and function.” In order to use the best available fire science, managers need access to high-quality fuel information. FuelCalc was developed to address these issues.
The FuelCalc software provides two major capabilities. First, FuelCalc converts inventory data into surface and canopy fuel characteristics. Those characteristics are then used to model potential fire behavior, fire effects, and smoke production. Site-specific, inventory-based data greatly strengthens the scientific foundation of fuel treatment decisions. Second, FuelCalc provides a means of designing fuel treatment alternatives and simulating the effects of those treatments on fuel characteristics. The user can specify criteria such as: thin from below to a residual canopy bulk density of 0.05 kg/m3, or thin from below to a residual basal area of 100 sq ft/acre, and FuelCalc identifies the number, volume, and characteristics of trees to be removed, as well as compute the activity fuels that would be generated by such a thinning. This analysis combines the work of the JFSP-funded Canopy Fuels Study (1999) with earlier work by Brown and Johnston (1976). Additionally, both a custom and a standard fire behavior fuel models are provided for the post-treatment fuelbed, allowing immediate calculation of the effects of the fuel treatment on expected fire behavior.
"FuelCalc Reference Guide" (version 1.0.0) [ pdf - 547 kb]
“FuelCalc: A method for Estimating Fuel Characteristics” [pdf 640 kb]
FuelCalc 1.0—coming soon (est. December 1, 2008)
Tutorials—coming soon (est. December 31, 2008)