Relating burning index to wildfire workload over broad geographic areas
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): R. Mees; R. A. Chase
Publication Year: 1991

Cataloging Information

  • catastrophic fires
  • coniferous forests
  • distribution
  • fire control
  • fire danger rating
  • fire frequency
  • fire management
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • firefighting personnel
  • national forests
  • southern California
  • statistical analysis
  • suppression
  • topography
  • weather observations
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 42036
Tall Timbers Record Number: 17032
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-I
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, 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.


The burning index of the National Fire Danger Rating System is designed to measure potential fire workload over broad geographic areas that can be represented as being homogeneous with respect to fuel, topographic, and weather conditions. The utility of this index is confirmed by its relation to three measures of fire workload--number of fires, area burned, and number of personnel used in fire suppression-- for National Forests in southern California. The distributions of these measures over 15 years were skewed heavily to the right ('heavy-tailed distributions'). We selected the 75th, 90th, and 95th percentile values of each distribution at ten percentile values of the burning index to investigate and display the association between fire workload and the burning index. The results provide a distinct view of the direct relationship between wildfire workload and critical burning index values for the southern California area as a whole, and point to the potential value of this approach for anticipating fire control problems in other areas. © IAWF. Reproduced from the International Journal of Wildland Fire (Mees, R. and R. Chase, 1991) with the kind permission of CSIRO PUBLISHING on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire. (

Online Link(s):
Mees, R., and R. A. Chase. 1991. Relating burning index to wildfire workload over broad geographic areas. International Journal of Wildland Fire, v. 1, no. 4, p. 235-238.