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 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 rating of relative fire potential bases 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 currently being formulated. This paper briefly outlines 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.