Alaska Fire Modeling Guides & Products
Alaska Fire & Fuels (akff.mesowest.org) is the Alaska interagency Fire Weather (FWI) and Fire Behavior (FBP) monitoring system. It provides public access to fire weather that is collected hourly, processes FWI codes and indices, and provides them in a range of tools and displays to aid fire managers in assessing their fire potential each day. Data collected is stored in a database and is available for historic queries and data downloads as needed. This guide is reference for its users.
This guidebook contains fuels and fire behavior information and vegetation characteristics for Alaska. Each fuel type (taken from 4th level Viereck classification names) is associated with up to three illustrative photos, the most appropriate fuel models, the primary carrier of fire, fire behavior notes, vegetation characteristics, individual 4th-level Viereck classes, and fuel types with similar characteristics. This document also contains a crosswalk from vegetation classes to various fuel models.
This document was modified from the original 2007 version, which was produced by Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service, State & Private Forestry, Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, State & Private Forestry, Jamie M. Nielsen, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, and Charles Lindemuth, Chugach Design Group. 2018 additions were provided by the Alaska Wildland Coordinating Group Invasive Species Task Group.
The Fire Behavior Field Reference Guide describes a range of practices by which fire behavior assessments are conducted. It is a hands-on publication for use in the field, in training, and as a reference.
This guide offers recommendations for using Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) fuel moisture codes and fire behavior indices from the Fire Weather Index (FWI) system to provide objective guidance for initial settings for many analysis inputs to WFDSS and IFTDSS. The FWI system has been formally calibrated for northern boreal ecosystems and effectively identifies significant thresholds for the Alaska landscapes as well as important trends in changing fire growth potential.
This document can be used to guide learning users through the fire behavior assessment process from the fireline and field office locations and can also provide important details on fire behavior. Worksheets, definitions, fuel model charts, and fire behavior tables are included.
This field guide is designed to give users a brief overview of the CFFDRS Fire Weather Index System, handy conversion tables, and instructions for calculating fuel moisture codes (FFMC, DMC, and DC), fire behavior indexes (ISI and BUI) and the Fire Weather Index (FWI) from the field.
Evaluating current and future risks from wildfires is usually a key element in the decisions about management of those fires. Carrying those evaluations more than a few days into the future requires stochastic approaches using the climatology of environmental conditions that favor or deter wildfire growth. Tools like the Fire Spread Probability (FSPro) simulator, and the Rare Event Risk Assessment Process (RERAP) before it, apply climatology in this way. This analysis identifies key environmental factors using spatial and temporal distribution of MODIS fire detections. The Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC) and Buildup Index (BUI) from the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS) are used to define a critical climatology of conditions favorable for significant fire growth in Alaska's Boreal Interior. Further, this fire growth event history is used to inform these stochastic analyses, demonstrating the potential for effective and useful results.
The Alaska Fire Modeling and Analysis Committee developed this 2 page guide with resources and recommendations for those new to the wildland fire decision-making process.
Dr. Jane Wolken, of University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning, summarized the history and current use of the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating system in a Summary Report at the request of the Alaska Wildfire Coordinating Group. The report reviews 8 topics for which the Alaska Interagency Fire Community wanted to evaluate the ‘state of knowledge’:
- Overwintering stations: pros and cons
- Fuel moisture measurements and comparisons
- Adjustment of mid- season indices based on fuel moisture measurements
- Whether data trends or raw values are more important for fire behavior prediction
- Impacts of using solar noon vs. non-solar noon observations
- Effects of errors in precipitation reporting
- Analysis of field data from Alaska
- Justification for thresholds in fire danger rating charts
Jane reviewed more than 60 documents for this report and provides a preliminary summary of the most relevant resources,including peer-reviewed journal publications, government technical reports, conference proceedings, results from workshop/conference presentations, and personal communications from individuals in the local and international wildfire community.
FSPro (Fire Spread Probability) is a fire modeling system that calculates the probability of fire spread from a fire perimeter or ignition point for a specified time period. This document is intended to be a user's guide for FSPro analysis in Alaska. It is not intended to be a cookbook of ingredients to be added to FSPro but rather, a starting point for analysis. This summary includes working guidelines and calibration techniques used in Alaska from 2008 through 2011 along with information gathered from the Help Menu in WFDSS, materials from S-495, documents written by analysts for Alaska, and published papers.
This short document compares modeling inputs, spotting processes, outputs, and limitations/assumptions for several spatial and non-spatial fire behavior models including FlamMap, Short Term Fire Behavior (STFB), FARSITE, Near Term Fire Behavior (NTFB), FSPro, Spot Distance Nomograms, and BehavePlus. This document was created by Tonya Opperman.
This 2009 research paper documents fire behavior during the 2007 Caribou Hills Fire in areas affected by spruce bark beetle. This burn event provided a basis for analyzing rates of fire travel across the landscape and intensity levels. FARSITE was used to develop 3 new custom models so as to forecast probable characteristics of future fire episodes in heavy and light “jackstraw” beetle-kill spruce fuel complexes (model 21 and model 22) and post-logging grass fuel beds mixed with residual slash debris (model 23).
With the advent of LANDFIRE fuels layers, an increasing number of specialists are using the data in a variety of fire modeling systems. However, a comprehensive guide on acquiring, critiquing, and editing (ACE) geospatial fuels data does not exist. This paper provides guidance on ACE as well as on assembling a geospatial fuels team, model calibration, and maintaining geospatial data and documentation. The paper concludes with direction and discussion on data maintenance, documentation, and complexities of a national fuels dataset for field application.
The purpose of this workshop was to:
- Develop long-term data sets for fire slowing/ending events probabilities
- Develop prescriptions statewide that constitutes a fire slowing event and/or turning point value when looking at long duration fires and large fire spread
- Document assumptions and this process progresses
- Use information in the 2008 fire season to refine values to assist managers in stage 2 & 3
- Refine prescriptions & assumptions in the fall after summer validation.
This tool allows users to look at fire behavior characteristics (such as rate of spread, fireline intensity, flame length, heat per unit area, and wind adjustment factor) for multiple fuel types on the same graph. Other factors such as moisture content, understory vegetation cover, and percent tree cover and be adjusted. This chart was developed by Joe Scott.