USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

FCCS Fuelbeds for the Lake Tahoe Basin

The Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team (FERA) of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station will be collaborating with the Pacific Southwest Region to develop a set of past, current, and future fuelbeds for the Angora Fire region using a new tool called the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS). The system will provide fuel characteristics; carbon accounting; surface fire, crown fire and available fuel potentials; and fire behavior calculations under various weather scenarios for each fuelbed developed. Following assignment of the fuelbeds to the Angora Fire landscape, levels of fire risk, smoke/pollutant production, carbon gain or loss, and threats or benefits to other resources will then be compared among the various treatment alternatives considered by the Interdisciplinary Team and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit vegetation and fuels management staff. This will improve the planning of restoration projects and serve as a common platform of communication among managers, decisionmakers, and the public.

Final Report [pdf]

Fuelbed pathways handbook, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, FCCS fuelbeds, July 2011

Fuelbeds available for download at
Map of fuelbeds in the Tahoe basin available for download at

Lead Researchers: Roger Ottmar, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Lab and Hugh Safford, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region

Typical fuelbed in ponderosa pineGoals

  1. Develop fuelbed pathways, determine a list of fuelbeds to be created, and construct fuelbeds using the FCCS that represent current and future fuel matrixes within the postfire Angora landscape.
  2. Provide fuelbed characteristics, a set of surface fire behavior, crown fire behavior, and available fuel potential predictions based on established environmental criteria; provide a carbon report for each fuelbed.
  3. Predict smoke and air pollutants from each fuelbed under the same burning scenarios provided by the fire restoration ID Team.

Timeframe: August 2008 through December 31, 2009 (1.5 years)


  1. A comprehensive set of fuelbed pathways for the Angora Creek watershed, including the Angora Fire landscape.
  2. FCCS fuelbeds that represent current and future scenarios for the Angora Fire region.
  3. GIS map layers of FCCS fuelbeds, fuelbed characteristics (e.g., loading, surface fuel depth, canopy cover, etc), and potential fire behavior outputs.
  4. Presentation of results to Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region managers and other constituents.
  5. Final report describing the protocols and FCCS fuelbeds with corresponding fire behavior output.
  6. Scientific manuscript draft.
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2013 02:52:07 PM