Systems for rating fire danger and predicting fire behavior used in Canada
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Terry Van Nest; Martin E. Alexander
Publication Year: 1999

Cataloging Information

  • Canada
  • CFFDRS - Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System
  • FBP - CFFDRS Fire Behavior Prediction System
  • FWI - Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System
Partner Site(s):
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: March 27, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 3103


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 the federal forestry service in Canada since 1968. The CFFDRS presently consists of two major subsystems. The Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System, provides numerical ratings of relative fire potential for a standard fuel type on level terrain based solely on weather observations, and has been used throughout Canada since 1970. The Canadian Forest Fire Behavior Prediction (FBP) System, accounts for variability in fire behavior amongst fuel types for a given slope steepness in quantitative and descriptive terms based on certain FWI System components as inputs. The FBP System was released in interim form in 1984 with final production completed in 1992. This paper provides a brief overview of these systems and their application in Canadian fire management, including a comparison of some of their U.S. counterparts. A selected bibliography is attached.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (77 KB; pdf)
Van Nest, Terry; Alexander, Martin E. 1999. Systems for rating fire danger and predicting fire behavior used in Canada. National Interagency Fire Behavior Workshop, Phoenix, AZ, 1-5 March 1999. 13 pp.