Canadian forest fire danger rating system: an overview
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Brian J. Stocks; Bruce D. Lawson; Martin E. Alexander; Charles E. Van Wagner; Rob S. McAlpine; Timothy J. Lynham; Dennis E. Dube
Publication Year: 1989

Cataloging Information

  • bibliographies
  • British Columbia
  • Canada
  • field experimental fires
  • fire danger rating
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire intensity
  • fire management
  • fuel moisture
  • fuel types
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • lightning caused fires
  • rate of spread
  • weather observations
  • wildfires
  • wind
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 16, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 30607
Tall Timbers Record Number: 4600
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Forest fire danger rating research in Canada was initiated by the federal government in 1925. Five different fire danger rating systems have been developed since that time, each with increasing universal applicability across Canada. The approach has been to build on previous danger rating systems in an evolutionary fashion and to use field experiments and empirical analysis extensively. The current system, the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS), has been under development by Forestry Canada since 1968. The first major subsystem of the CFFDRS, the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System, provides numerical ratings of relative fire potential based solely on weather observations, and has been in use throughout Canada since 1970. The second major subsystem, the Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction (FBP) System, accounts for variability in fire behavior among fuel types (predicting rate of spread, fuel consumption, and frontal fire intensity), was issued in interim form in 1984 with final production scheduled for 1990. A third major CFFDRS subsystem, the Canadian Forest Fire Occurrence Prediction (FOP) System, is currectly being formulated. This paper briefly outline the history and philosophy of fire danger rating research in Canada discussing in detail the structure of the current CFFDRS and its application and use by fire management agencies throughout Canada.

Online Link(s):
Stocks, B. J., B. D. Lawson, M. E. Alexander, C. E. Van Wagner, R. S. McAlpine, T. J. Lynham, and D. E. Dube. 1989. Canadian forest fire danger rating system: an overview. Forestry Chronicle 65(4):258-265.