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The Fire Modeling Institute (FMI) | Print |


The Fire Modeling Institute
5775 W US Highway 10
Missoula, MT 59808
Phone: (406) 829-6977; Fax: (406) 329-4877

The Fire Modeling Institute is:

  • A center of expertise to support fire management planning and implementation of fire science
  • A core of highly skilled, experienced staff and ready access to research scientists
  • A group that helps facilitate science delivery in fire management

Our mission is to connect fire managers, technical experts, and scientists with the best fire analysis technology and with the most current information from the scientific literature available to respond to their fire-related resource management needs. We provide a variety of services to clients including project design, data analysis, literature review and synthesis, software training, spatial analysis, workshops, and technical advising.

The Fire Modeling Institute is a five-year project funded by the US Forest Service in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain Research Station.

FMI: The Organization

The Fire Modeling Institute brings together people and fire-analysis tools to solve fire-related resource-management problems.  As a center of expertise in fire management resources, it coordinates between those who need fire-resource information, training and/or products and those who work in programs or research units that develop or maintain those products for the public.  The Institute can be envisioned as two separate – but integrated – groups.  One group is responsible for storing and maintaining fire-science literature.  One group is responsible for developing and maintaining fire-science technology.  Five highly skilled specialists coordinate requests for fire-related assistance from these two groups.  

The fire-science literature group, also known as Fire Effects Information System (FEIS), is comprised of library professionals and information specialists who are dedicated to providing clients with the most current information that applies to a resource problem.  They develop literature reviews, assemble in-depth information on how fire affects specific plant and animal species, and maintain a comprehensive library of fire-related research literature.
The fire-analysis technology group, also known as the Applications Team, is comprised of technical experts from the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Fire Sciences Laboratory, the Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) team, and the national LANDFIRE program.  The Fire Science Laboratory provides expertise from its three research units, including Fire Ecology and Fuels, Fire Behavior, and Fire Chemistry; and from its personnel in the LANDFIRE program.

The five FMI coordinators themselves are specialists in forestry, fire ecology, fire behavior, and information/library management.  Each evaluates incoming requests for assistance within their area of expertise and determines how to best fill them with available resources. 

FMI: Our Scope

FMI has a broad scope of tasks that it can undertake.   These fall under the general headings of development, support, training, and maintenance. Requests for assistance must come through the process outlined in “How to Propose a Project." 


  • Develop new products (literature syntheses, maps, spatial layers, and publications)
  • Develop methods for targeting strategic locations for fuel treatments based on fire behavior modeling, spatial analysis, ecological modeling, and integration of other resource needs.
  • Assist in the development of Fire Behavior Condition Classes
  • Assist in the comparison of analytical tools, including models, for addressing fuel management issues, fire suppression activities, and other fire and fuel related issues. 


  • Provide long term technical support for fire suppression, prescribed fire, wildland fire use, and fuel management
  • Support managers in implementing strategically placed fuel treatments on the landscape
  • Respond quickly to requests for technical support in addressing critical issues that may arise at the national, regional, and local levels
  • Support fire computer systems by membership in the Information Resource Management (IRM) Working Team, which is part of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG)
  • Provide communications services (distribute data, publications, and models; develop and maintain as needed on Internet)
  • Support LANDFIRE technology transfer by
    • Continuing development of methods for using LANDFIRE data to answer management questions at the appropriate scale of analysis
    • Developing methodologies for integrating LANDFIRE data with local or regional data to address specific management issues
    • Working directly with managers by helping incorporate LANDFIRE data on local projects that address management issues (e.g. effective fuel treatment placements), demonstrating other potential analysis procedures (e.g. landscape changes over time), and documenting these procedures for future applications
  • Support other interagency activities (e.g. Fire Program Analysis (FPA) Systems or Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) Interagency Team) by helping fine tune model applications, mentoring users, developing new methodologies, documenting methods for use in future applications, and interacting with teams to help address future issues. 


  • Mentor managers in the use of models, spatial analysis, and data analysis in management applications (for instance, in application of FRCC and LANDFIRE data)
  • Provide training (develop curricula and courses, develop training materials, put on workshops)


  • Maintain products, including FEIS, the Fire Effects Literature Collection, and the Coarse Scale analysis
  • Continue support for all levels of Fire Regime Condition Class mapping and application efforts