U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fire Science Brief, Issue 2, November 2007


US government work.


Whether the goal is to improve wildlife habitat, gauge the effects of prescribed burns or wildfire, or assess the unaccustomed conditions and hidden dangers of fallen trees in the aftermath of hurricanes, a suite of tools developed by the Fire and Environmental Research Applications (FERA) Team at the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory, allows resource managers to estimate fuel loads, fire hazards, and smoke emissions characteristics in a wide range of forest and grassland ecosystems. The Natural Fuels Photo Series, developed by FERA’s Roger Ottmar, is a field guide for resource managers who need a quick way to gauge fuel load. Complementary computer programs allow managers to predict the behavior of wildfire or prescribed fire and estimate smoke emissions. These assessments of fuel load, fire behavior, and fire effects will help managers fulfill increasingly strict air quality regulatory requirements for prescribed fire and assess the hazard to the public from wildfire.