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Application of the Nelson model to four timelag fuel classes using Oklahoma field observations: Model evaluation and comparison with national Fire Danger Rating System algorithms


Carlson, J. D.; Bradshaw, Larry S.; Nelson, Ralph M., Jr.; Bensch, Randall R; Jabrzemski, Rafal. 2007. Application of the Nelson model to four timelag fuel classes using Oklahoma field observations: Model evaluation and comparison with national Fire Danger Rating System algorithms. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 16: 204-216.

The application of a next-generation dead-fuel moisture model, the 'Nelson model', to four timelag fuel classes using an extensive 21-month dataset of dead-fuel moisture observations is described. Developed by Ralph Nelson in the 1990s, the Nelson model is a dead-fuel moisture model designed to take advantage of frequent automated weather observations. Originally developed for 10-h fuels, the model is adaptable to other fuel size classes through modification of the model's fuel stick parameters. The algorithms for dead-fuel moisture in the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS), on the other hand, were originally developed in the 1970s, utilise once-a-day weather information, and were designed to estimate dead-fuel moisture for mid-afternoon conditions. Including all field observations over the 21-month period, the Nelson model showed improvement over NFDRS for each size fuel size class, with r2 values ranging from 0.51 (1000-h fuels) to 0.79 (10-h fuels). However, for observed fuel moisture at or below 30%, the NFDRS performed better than the Nelson model for 1-h fuels and was about the same accuracy as the Nelson for 10-h fuels. The Nelson model is targeted for inclusion in the next-generation NFDRS.

Keywords: dead-fuel moisture, modelling


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Application of the Nelson model to four timelag fuel classes using Oklahoma field observations: Model evaluation and comparison with national Fire Danger Rating System algorithms
Electronic Publish Date: July 6, 2007
Last Update:
July 6, 2007

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