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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Measuring fire passage in a longleaf pine forest from a boom lift, 2012 RxCADRE, GeorgiaThe availability of integrated, quality-assured fuels, atmospheric, fire behavior, energy, smoke, and effects data are limited and hinders our ability to evaluate fire models and tackle fundamental fire science questions.  To help fill this void, the Core Fire Science Caucus—an ad hoc group of 30 scientists that met periodically to discuss fire behavior research, identify knowledge gaps, and outline a strategic direction for continued research—pooled their operational and in-kind resources and collaboratively instrumented and collected fire data on seven operational prescribed fires in 2008 and 2011 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Georgia. This effort was termed the Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiment (RxCADRE). The project enabled scientists to integrate processes for collecting complementary research data across fire-related disciplines before, during, and after the active burning periods of prescribed fires.  The goal was to develop synergies between the fuel, atmospheric conditions, fire behavior, radiative energy, smoke generation, and fire effects measurements for fire model development and evaluation.


The goal was to develop synergies between the fuel, atmospheric conditions, fire behavior, radiative energy, smoke generation, and fire effects measurements for fire model development and evaluation.

Measuring air quality in Florida RxCADRE BurnIn 2012, the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) funded a continuation and expansion of this effort to include 6 small replicate and 3 operational prescribed burn blocks in longleaf pine ecosystems on Eglin Air Force Base in northern Florida. The support included data collection for RxCADRE 2012, data reduction and analysis for the 2008, 2011 and 2012 RxCADRE projects, a design of a data management system and the upload of the data into a permanent data repository for all to access.  Nearly 30 scientists and technicians participated in the 2008 and 2011 campaigns while over 90 scientists and technicians participated in the 2012 campaign. Eglin Air Force Base was selected for the much larger 2012 RxCADRE project because of excellent management support in previous efforts, appropriate research sites, high probability experimental fires would occur, controlled air space for deployment of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), and data acquisition and processing support.  

The RxCADRE project organized its data collection around a stepwise, hierarchical structure with 6 major data discipline areas (fuels, meteorology, fire behavior, energy balance, emissions, and fire effects) and associated variables. The burn unit selection targeted simple grass, grass/shrub, and managed southern pine forest fuelbeds at both fine- and operational scales. Each discipline employed a series of data collection techniques ranging from simple clipping and weighing fuels for mass to mapping fire progression with manned and unmanned aircraft. Once collected, data was reviewed, reduced, analyzed and linked to a descriptive set of metadata. The data package was uploaded to a globally accessible repository maintained by the US Forest Service in Fort Collins, CO.  The data is organized by discipline areas and has a table of contents with linkages to the specific data locations.

Scientific Journal Articles in Review

Currently in review with the International Journal of Wildland Fire for a special issue "Measurements, Datasets and Preliminary Results from the RxCADRE Project"

*Observations of fire intensity and fire spread rate—RxCADRE 2012

Butler, B. Teske, C., Jimenez, D., O’Brien, J., Sopko, P., Wold, C., Vosburgh, M., Hornsby, B., Loudermilk, E.

Meteorological measurements and fire weather conditions-RxCADRE 2012

Clements, C.B., Lareau, N., Seto, D., Contezac, J., Davis, B., Teske, C, Butler, B., Jimenez, D.

Measurements relating fire radiative energy density and surface fuel consumption—RxCADRE 2011 and 2012.

Hudak, A.T., Dickinson, M.B., Bright, B.C., Kremens, R.L., Loudermilk, L.E., O’Brien, J.J., Hornsby, B., Ottmar, R.D.

Ground, airborne, and satellite measurements of fire radiative power—RxCADRE 2012

Dickinson, M.B., Hudak, A.T., Zajkowski, T., Loudermilk, L.E., Schroeder, W., Ellison, L., Kremens, R.L., Holley, W., Martinez, O., Paxton, A., Bright, B.C., O’Brien, J.J., Hornsby, B., Ichoku, C., Faulring, J., Gerace, A., Peterson, D., Mauseri, J.

Testing and use of remotely piloted aircraft systems—RxCADRE 2012.

Zajkowski, T.J., Dickinson, M.B., Hiers, K.J., Holley, W., Williams, B.W., Paxton, A., Martinez, O., Walker, G.W.

Calibration procedures for single-band WASP LWIR data-incorporating spectral sensor response and atmospheric transmission.

Dickinson, M.B., Kremens, R.L. Accessory publication 1 to Dickinson et al.

Alternative methods for estimating fire radiative power from MODIS observations when fire boundaries are known

Ellison, L., Ichoku, C. Accessory publication 2 to Dickinson et al.

High resolution infrared thermography measurements for capturing fire behavior in wildland fires—RxCADRE 2012

O’Brien , J., Loudermilk, L.E., Hornsby, B., Hudak, A.T., Bright, B.C., Dickinson, M.B., Hiers, K.J., Ottmar, R.D.

Measurements, datasets and preliminary result from the RxCADRE project

Ottmar, R.D., Hiers, K.H., Clements, C.B., Butler, B., Dickinson, M.B., Potter, B., O’Brien, J.J., Hudak, A.T., Rowell, E.M., Zajkowski, T.J.

Pre- and postfire surface fuel and cover measurements—RxCADRE 2008, 2011, and 2012

Ottmar , R.D., Hudak, A.T., Wright, C.S., Vihnanek, R.E., Restaino, J.C.

Development and validation of fuel height models for terrestrial lidar— RxCADRE 2012.

Rowell, E.M., Seielstad, C.A., Ottmar, R.D.

Smoke and emissions measurements— RxCADRE 2012.

Strand, T., Gullett, B., Urbanski, S., O’Neill, S.O., Potter, B., Aurell, J., Holder, A., Larkin, N, Moore, M., Rorig, M.

Data Collection Efforts Over 3 Years



Lead scientist





Pre-and postfire





















Fire behavior

In situ










Radiative power and energy




























Progress Reports to the Joint Fire Science Program

Proceedings Papers and Abstracts
  • Using an Unmanned Aircraft to Observe Black Carbon Aerosols during a Prescribed Fire at the RxCADRE Campaign (2014 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems 2014) More
  • Unmanned Aircraft Aerosol Sampling: Improvements in Capabilities and Sample Analyses (European Aerosol Conference 2013) More
  • In situ Micrometeorological Measurements during RxCADRE (Association for Fire Ecology 2009) More

Related Papers

European Aerosol Conference 2013

  • Unmanned Aircraft Aerosol Sampling: Improvements in Capabilities and Sample AnalysesMore

International Journal of Remove Sensing Applications

  • Remote Sensing and Unmanned Aerial System Technology for Monitoring and Quantifying Forest Fire Impacts More
    [.pdf 954kb]

  • Coupling Rabbit Rules with Daysmoke for Simulating Fire Spread and Plume Rise for an RxCadre Aerial Ignition Prescribed Burn (American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting 2011)
  • The Discovery Channel Canada collected interviews and footage and developed a 7-minute segment that aired March 18 during their broadcast of the “Daily Planet”. No link available
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting video "Fire Ecology" (RXCADRE starts at 17 minutes into the video)

News Coverage
  • RxCADRE Prescribe Fire, Eglin Air Force Base (U.S. Geological Survey 2014)More
  • Capturing Fire: RxCADRE Takes Fire Measurements to Whole New Level (Joint Fire Science Program 2013)More
  • Smoke Plume Research (Scion Research 2013)More
  • Large Group of Researchers Hopes to Develop More Accurate Fire Models (Wildfire Today 2013) More
  • Aeryon Scout sUAS Supports Critical Florida Wildfire Research (sUAS News 2013) More
  • Eglin’s Controlled Burns Advance Fire Research (Eglin Air Force Base 2012)More
  • RxCADRE: A Novel Approach to Wildland Fire Research [.pdf 736 kb] (Southern Fire Exchange 2012)More
  • Fire on the Base (U.S. Forest Service, Southern Research Station 2012)More
  • All in the Name of Science: Unmanned Aircraft Battle Flames and Smoke during RxCADRE 2011 (Association of Unmanned Automated Vehicle Systems International 2011)More
  • RIT Scientists ‘Feel the Burn’ of Wildfire Research (Rochester Institute of Technology 2008)More
  • Collaborative Research in the Core Fire Sciences: Prescribed Fire Combustion-Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiments (Rx-CADRE)(Southern Smoke Issues 2008)More
  • Fire Measurements in the Southeastern United States (N.d.) More



4th Conference on Fire Behavior and Fuels held in Raleigh, NC, February 17-22, 2013

  • A Data Set for Fire and Smoke Model Development and Evaluation--RxCADRE More
  • Fuel Characteristics and Consumption--RxCADRE More
  • Ground LiDAR Fuel Measurements of the Prescribed Fire Combustion and Atmospheric Dynamics Research Experiment More
  • Relationships Between Pre-fire Fuels, Fire Radiative Energy, and Post-fire Ash More
  • Meteorological Measurements Made During RxCADRE More
  • Linking Ground, Airborne, and Satellite Measurements of Fire Power More
  • Fire Behavior and Wind Flow Measurements More
  • RxCADRE III Fine Scale Fire Behavior More
  • Merging Unmanned Aircraft Collected Aerial Imagery to Map the 2012 Rx-CADRE Prescribed Burn Plots More
  • Supporting RxCADRE Fire Measurements Unmanned Aerial Systems More
  • New Scientific Investments & Approaches to Fire Modeling More
  • Ground-based Smoke and Plume Observations from RxCADRE 2012 More
  • Aerial and Ground Measurements of Emissions from Prescribed and Laboratory Forest Burns More

National Interagency Fire Center, National Infrared Operations Tactical Fire Remote Sensing Advisory Committee, N.d.

  • The Rx-CADRE Integrated Prescribed Fire Measurements Campaign: Remote Sensing Measurements from
    Satellite and Piloted and Un-Piloted Aircraft. [.pdf 2.84 MB] More

RxCADRE 2012: Airborne Measurements of Smoke Emission and Dispersion from Prescribed Fires More


The RxCADRE team wishes to thank the Joint Fire Science Program for financial assistance in providing the opportunity to collect this fire model validation dataset and archive it for global access at the Forest Service Research Data Archive. The team also wishes to acknowledge the support and cooperation of Jackson Guard, Eglin Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, University of Idaho, University of Montana, University of Alaska, North Carolina State University, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Northern Research Station, Southern Research Station, and the Forest Service National Research Data Archive.




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