USDA Forest Service

Fire and Environmental Research Applications Team


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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Icon of a magnifying glassConnecting FCCS with the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS)

FVS logoPhase Two-- Developing a Post-Processor to Link the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System

The FCCS-FVS post-processor being developed in this phase will allow managers to continue to conduct analyses in the FVS environment, but will give them the option to calculate fire hazard assessments with the best available science for documenting and quantifying complex fuelbeds parameters responsible for fire behavior and fire effects. For example, the post-processor will give managers the capability to compare treatment responses between a traditional (fuel models) and higher resolution (FCCS fuelbeds) approach.

FVS is the standard software used to evaluate treatment effect and forest succession in the United States and Canada. As management objectives in forestry shifted from timber production (growth and yield) to fuel reduction in dry forest types, a companion program, Fire and Fuels Extension (FFE), was developed to give forest managers the ability to evaluate treatment effects on potential fire behavior, and FFE-FVS predicts changes in stand and fuel characteristics over time and the behavior and impacts of fire (Reinhardt and Crookston 2003). A major limitation of FFE is its inability to estimate and quantify shrub and nonwoody vegetation, a major contributor to fire behavior.

Phase Two continues development of an FVS post-processor (see below) that will link FVS and FCCS. Post-processors are stand-alone applications that produce specialized output using, as input, files that have been produced by the FVS model. FVS has an array of post-processors that were developed because of inquires and requests from forest managers who wanted specific information from the FVS model.

Estimated Completion Date: December 31, 2013

Phase One -- Connecting FCCS with the Forest Vegetation Simulator

This study follows up on an earlier projected funded by the City of Seattle to analyze fuel decomposition and fire hazard on the Cedar River Watershed. Data collected during that study was used to develop an integration between the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FFE-FVS) and the Fuel Characteristics Classification System. Current work involves testing FFE-FVS output to that predicted by the FCCS. The value added by this integration includes the ability to calculate FCCS fire potentials from stand tree list data


Progress Made Toward Linking FCCS with FVS (April 39, 2011)--The Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) annual steering committee meeting was held in Fort Collins several weeks ago. Morris Johnson represented the FERA team and presented an update of his work to integrate the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) with FVS. Updates were provided on the use of FVS by various organizations, how it is being adapted to emerging areas of interest such as climate change, and how the model can be maintained, tested, and validated.

FCCS-FVS Integration Work in High Gear (January 2010) -- We are making tremendous progress on integrating the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) and the Fuels Characteristics Classification System (FCCS). The conceptual design for the integration is complete. FVS programmers are updating a tool that converts Field Sample Vegetation (FSVEG) and Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data into FVS format. We are developing a FSVEG habitat code crosswalk to ensure that the FVS model recognizes habitat codes for each stand. Habitat codes will be linked to a shrub and herb database. This database provides the initial shrub and herb coverage for each fuelbed and is about 30% complete. The next major task is to develop algorithms to calculate FVS_FCCS variables. This algorithm will convert FVS projected data in the FCCS format. For example, FVS tree list data will be converted into FCCS canopy stratum (overstory, midstory, understory). We have a meeting scheduled in March 2010 to develop the next steps and to discuss solutions to problems we have encountered. We anticipate having a prototype of the system in July 2010.

Forest Vegetation Simulator to Create FCCS Fuelbeds (March 2009) -- Scientists and programmers from the Forest Management Service Center in Fort Collins, Colorado and the FERA team have been working together over the past year to develop an integration between the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) and the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS). The goal is to provide FCCS fuelbeds as one output from FVS. This integration will allow managers to rapidly generate custom FCCS fuelbeds from their current stand exam data. Managers would also have the capability to implement silvicultural treatments such as thinning and planting, and project FCCS fuelbeds forward in time.

Project Lead: Morris Johnson

Joint Fire Science Program logoWe acknowledge funding of the second phase of this research by the Joint Fire Science Program Project #12-1-02-35

U.S. Forest Service - PNW- FERA
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:39 CST

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