USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team

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Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team
Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory

400 N 34th Street, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98103

(206) 732-7800

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United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Application of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System

FCCS fuelbeds, their characteristics, and fuelbed potentials are being incorporated into research and management projects in the United States and around the world. Complete, ongoing, and anticipated projects are outlined here to offer examples of how FCCS can be used by a variety of groups at many scales and for a myriad of purposes.

Regional Applications

Right arrowConfederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

This video shows the application of FCCS fuelbeds to fire management planning on Salish amd Kootenai tribal lands in Montana. After analysis by University of Washington graduate student and Yakama tribal member Laurel James, tribal managers chose to use FERA's Fuel Characteristic Classification (FCCS) Landfire layer when realizing their previous efforts using the basic Landfire layers were not good enough at this management scale.These new spatial layers are now informing fire management planning efforts.

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Right arrowOkanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Fuelbeds, fuelbed characteristics, and fire potentials were mapped to assess the fire hazard across the forest, and assess the need for treatment to reduce fire hazard.

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Right arrowLake Tahoe Basin

A set of past, current, and future fuelbeds for the Lake Tahoe were mapped to allow comparison of potential consequences of various fuel treatment alternatives to improve the planning of restoration projects and serve as a common platform of communication among managers, decision makers, and the public.

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Right arrowNortheastern Oregon

FCCS fuelbeds were created and mapped for the Predictive Service Area (E4 zone) of northeastern Oregon that includes the Umatilla, Malhuer, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests, as well as adjacent BLM forest lands. They represent represent past, current and potential future conditions of major forest and rangeland types, management activities, and natural disturbances.

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Right arrowCentral Oregon

The nationwide fire program analysis project (FPA) system encompassed fire planning units, across the country including the Central Oregon Fire Planning Unit (FPU). FCCS was used to generate over 200 fuelbeds in support of this work.

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Right arrowCity of Seattle

Fire hazard in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed (Seattle, WA) was assessed using the FCCS. This was done to help reconcile ecological restoration efforts and fire management across the landscape with respect to fuel loadings. Results were written up in an internal report, and a scientific paper is under development. Research was funded in part by the City of Seattle.

Contact Morris Johnson for more information

Right arrowComparison of Pre- and Post-Fire/Logging Fuels in Eastern Oregon

We remeasured stand structure and the fuelbed after wildfire and subsequent logging to capture information on fuel mass changes, snag fall rate, log decay rate, and regeneration success since the fire of 1996 (15 years hence), since the logging of 1998 (13 years hence), and for the Wray Creek block, since the second wildfire of 2008.

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Right arrowIntegrated Landscape Assessment Project

Prioritization of watershed-level land management actions based on fuels, habitats, economic values, and projected climate change was done across Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. Fuels were characterized using the FCCS, and inserted into one of the modules of this complex project.

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National Applications

Right arrowSmoke from Eastern Hardwoods

The development of FCCS fuelbeds was key to gathering fuel loading data which can inform smoke management decisions in the Northeast.

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Right arrowLANDFIRE

FCCS facilitates the mapping of fuel characteristics and fire hazard assessments, and landscape level spatial fire effects simulations. The FCCS layer can serve as input to wildland fire effects models.

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Right arrowWildland Fire Emissions Inventory System

The Wildland Fire Emissions Inventory System (WFEIS) integrated FCCS into its system at a 1-km spatial resolution. The system is used for emissions estimates for forestland and shrubland.

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Right arrowBlueSky

Right arrowSavannah River Site

This research assessed fuels and fire hazard, and the potential for fuels consumption by developing and analyzing a matrix of FCCS fuelbeds and fire behavior predictions that represent the range of current and anticipated surface fire behavior and crown fire potentials in each of seven land cover and stand age types. assess fuels and fire hazard, and the potential for fuels consumption.

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Right arrowHuron-Manistee Interagency Fire Use Module

From 2009 through 2011, this team used FCCS for fuels inventory, fire potential mapping, as supplemental information on ground truthing LANDFIRE data, and even an elk habitat improvement project. The module used FCCS in reports and projects in 23 different states (in every region except Alaska).


Global Applications
Right arrowNorth American Carbon Emissions Right arrowMexico
Independent Research Applications

Yue, X.; Mickley, L.J.; Logan, J.A.; Kaplan, J.O. 2013. Ensemble projections of wildfire activity and carbonaceous aerosol concentrations over the western United States in the mid-21st century. Atmospheric Environment. 77:767-780. pdf icon

Choi, K-C.; Woo, J-H.; Kim, H.K. [et al.]. 2013. Modeling of emissions from open biomass burning in Asia using the BlueSky framework. Asian Journal of Atmospheric Environment. 1-1: 25-37. .pdf icon

Hudec, J.L.; Peterson, D.L. 2012. Fuel variability following wildfire in forests with mixed severity fire regimes, Cascade Range, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 277: 11-24. .pdf icon

Goodrick, S.L.; Stanturf, J.A. 2012. Evaluating potential changes in fire risk from Eucalyptus plantings in the southern United States. International Journal of Forestry Research. 2012(680246):1-9. .pdf icon

James, L.L. 2012. National to local: a pre and post assessment of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) landscape variables for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Seattle: University of Washington. M.S. Thesis.
Link to text

Kurth, Laurie; Hollingsworth, LaWen; Shea, Dan. 2011. Comparison of geospatially modeled fire behavior and potential application to fire and fuels management for the Savannah River Site. Final report. .pdf icon

Zhang, C.; Tian, H.; Wang, Y.; Zeng, T.; Liu, Y. 2010. Predicting response of fuel load to future changes in climate and atmospheric composition in the Southern United States. Forest Ecology and Management. 260: 556-564. .pdf icon

Patterson, L.A. 2009. Development of wildland fire smoke marker emissions maps for the conterminous United States. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science. 131 p. M.S. Thesis.pdf icon

Zhang, X.; Kondragunta, S.; Schmidt, C.; Kogan, F.2008. Near real time monitoring of biomass burning particulate emissions (PM2.5) across contiguous United States using multiple satellite instruments. Atmospheric Environment. 42:6959-6972. pdf icon

Campbell, J.; Donato, D.; Azuma, D.; Law, B. 2007. Pyrogenic carbon emission from a large wildfire in Oregon, United States. Journal of Geophysical Research. 112: G04014. pdf icon

Tan, Z.; Tiezen, L.L.; Zhu, Z. [et al.]. 2007. An estimate of carbon emissions from 2004 wildfires across Alaskan Yukon River Basin. Carbon Balance and Management. 2(12). pdf icon


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