The Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program (FFS), one of eight research programs in the Rocky Mountain Research Station, is based at the Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. The Program has a national charter to conduct fundamental and applied research relating to wildland fire processes, terrestrial and atmospheric effects of fire, and ecological adaptations to fire. In addition, the Program develops associated tools and applications for scientists and managers. The scope of work addresses all stages of wildland fire, including the pre-fire environment; combustion and fire behavior processes; immediate (first-order) fire effects; and longer-term (second-order) fire effects.
The Program is organized within six focus areas:
The factors that determine fire behavior (fuel, weather, and topography) do so through the requirements for combustion (fuel, heat, and oxygen). Researchers are examining fire at its most basic level to improve understanding of:
Scientists use field observations, satellite data, and models to describe smoke’s chemical composition, its movement within a fire’s heat plume, and its movement through the layers of the atmosphere. This research helps to:
This research contributes to improved conservation, restoration of burned areas, and reduction of fire hazard. Field and laboratory studies in fire ecology provide insights into: