U.S. Joint Fire Science Program


Joint Fire Science Program Digests

Date of this Version


Document Type

Newsletter Issue


Fire Science Digest, Issue 2, March 2008


United States government work


In 1972, aeronautical engineer Richard C. Rothermel, of the USDA Fire Sciences Lab at Missoula, Montana, developed a method for modeling the spread of wildfire. The model became widely used, and although the ensuing years have brought many technological innovations, it is still the engine of the predictive tools used by fire behavior officers today. The Joint Science Fire Program (JFSP) is pleased to offer Dick Rothermel’s story as a tribute to a significant accomplishment, and also to showcase some of the current work at the Fire Sciences Lab.