Wildland fuel characteristics are used in many applications of operational fire predictions and to understand fire effects and behaviour. Even so, there is a shortage of information on basic fuel properties and the physical characteristics of wildland fuels. The Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) builds and catalogues fuelbed descriptions based on realistic physical properties derived from direct or indirect observation, inventories, expert knowledge, inference, or simulated fuel characteristics. The FCCS summarizes and calculates wildland fuel characteristics, including fuel depth, loading, and surface area. Users may modify fuelbeds and thereby capture changing fuel conditions over time and (or) under different management prescriptions. Fuel loadings from four sample fuelbed pairs (i.e., pre- and post-prescribed fire) were calculated and compared by using FCCS to demonstrate the versatility of the system and how individual fuel components, such as shrubs, nonwoody fuels, woody fuels, and litter, can be calculated and summarized. The ability of FCCS to catalogue and summarize complex fuelbeds and reflect dynamic fuel conditions allows calculated results to be used in a variety of applications including surface and crown fire predictions, carbon assessments, and wildlife habitat management. © 2007 National Research Courcil of Canada, NCR Research Press. Abstract reproduced by permission.