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FARSITE

FARSITE computes wildfire growth and behavior for long time periods under heterogeneous conditions of terrain, fuels, and weather.

FARSITE is a fire growth simulation modeling system. It uses spatial information on topography and fuels along with weather and wind files. It incorporates existing models for surface fire, crown fire, spotting, post-frontal combustion, and fire acceleration into a 2-dimensional fire growth model.

FARSITE is widely used by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and other federal and state land management agencies to simulate the spread of wildfires and fire use for resource benefit across the landscape. It is designed for users familiar with fuels, weather, topography, wildfire situations and the associated terminology. Because of its complexity, only users with the proper fire behavior training and experience should use FARSITE where the outputs are to be used for making fire and land management decisions.

Farsite logoIt uses the following spatial and tabular data (similar to FlamMap):

  • Landscape (.LCP) file,
  • Initial Fuel Moistures (.FMS) file,
  • optional Custom Fuel Model (.FMD) files,
  • optional Conversion (.CNV) files,
  • optional Weather (.WTR) files, and
  • optional Wind (.WND) files.

It incorporates the following fire behavior models:

  • Rothermel's (1972) surface fire spread model,
  • Van Wagner's (1977) crown fire initiation model,
  • Rothermel's (1991) crown fire spread model,
  • Albini's (1979) spotting model, and
  • Nelson's (2000) dead fuel moisture model.

FARSITE computes wildfire growth and behavior for long time periods under heterogeneous conditions of terrain, fuels, and weather. It uses existing fire behavior models for surface fire spread (Rothermel 1972), crown fire initiation (Van Wagner 1977), and crown fire spread (Rothermel 1991), post-frontal combustion (Albini and others 1995; Albini and Reinhardt 1995), and dead fuel moisture (Nelson 2000).

FARSITE is a deterministic modeling system, meaning that simulation results can be directly compared to inputs. This system can be used to simulate air and ground suppression actions as well as for fire "gaming," asking multiple "what-if" questions and comparing the results.

FARSITE is a spatial fire modeling system that produces outputs that are compatible with PC and Workstation graphics and GIS software for later analysis and display. It accepts both GRASS and ARC/INFO GIS raster data themes.

Required spatial data for FARSITE can be accessed from:  http://www.landfire.gov/

Technical Support:

The first level of technical support is provided through your local support channels.

The second level of technical support is provided by the U.S. Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management Fire Applications Help Desk.

•Phone at 866-224-7677 or 360-326-6002,
•Fax at 866-328-1364, or
•E-mail at helpdesk@dms.nwcg.gov
•Website: https://fam.nwcg.gov/fam-web/

The Fire Applications Help Desk is available for help with software issues only.

Training: An online tutorial is included in the online Help and example data sets are provided with the installation download. Currently, no formal training course exists for FARSITE.

Modified: Jun 24, 2014

Select Publications & Products

FARSITE Background Material

Finney, M. A. 2004. FARSITE: Fire Area Simulator–model development and evaluation. Research Paper RMRS-RP-4 Revised. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (1,667 KB; 47 pages)

Finney, M. A. 1999. Spatial Modeling of Post-Frontal Fire Behavior. Missoula, MT: Systems for Environmental Management; Final Report RMRS-99557-RJVA. (90 KB; 8 pages)

Finney, M. A. 1999. Mechanistic modeling of landscape fire patterns. In: Mladenoff, D. J. and Baker, W. L. eds. Spatial modeling of forest landscape change: approaches and applications. Cambridge University Press: 186-209.

Scott, J. H.; Burgan, R. E. 2005. Standard fire behavior fuel models: a comprehensive set for use with Rothermel's surface fire spread model. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-153. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (1,359 KB; 80 pages)

Albini, F. A.; Brown, J. K.; Reinhardt, E. D.; Ottmar, R. D. 1995. Calibration of a large fuel burnout model. International Journal of Wildland Fire 5(23): 173-192. (1,336 KB; 20 pages)

Albini, F. A.; Reinhardt, E. D. 1995. Modeling ignition and burning rate of large woody natural fuels. International Journal of Wildland Fire 5(2): 81-91. (873 KB; 11 pages)

Finney, M. A. 1995. FARSITE: A fire area simulator for fire managers. In: Weise, D. R.; Martin, R. E. (tech. coords.). The Biswell Symposium: Fire issues and solutions in urban interface and wildland ecosystems. 1994 February 15-17; Walnut Creek, California. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-158. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 55-56. (647 KB; 13 pages)

Guides for Spatial Fire Behavior Analysis

Stratton, R. D. 2009. Guidebook on LANDFIRE fuels data acquisition, critique, modification, maintenance, and model calibration. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-220. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (7,715 KB; 54 pages)

Stratton, R. D. 2006. Guidance on spatial wildland fire analysis: models, tools, and techniques. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-183. Ft. Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (1,558 KB; 15 pages)

Keane, R. E.; Mincemoyer, S. A.; Schmidt, K. M.; Long, D. G.; Garner, J. L. 2000. Mapping vegetation and fuels for fire management on the Gila National Forest Complex, New Mexico, [CD-ROM]. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-46-CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (490 KB; 131 pages)

Keane, R. E.; Garner, J. L.; Schmidt, K. M.; Long, D. G.; Menakis, J. P., Finney, M. A. 1998. Development of input data layers for the FARSITE fire growth model for the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Complex, USA. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-3. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. (5,873 KB; 66 pages)

Green, K.; Finney, M. A.; Campbell, J.; Weinstein, D.; Landrum, V. 1995. Fire! Using GIS to predict fire behavior. Journal of Forestry 93(5): 21-25. (271 KB; 5 pages)

Fire Growth Simulations using FARSITE

Finney, M. A. 2000. Efforts at comparing simulated and observed fire growth patterns. Missoula, MT: Systems for Environmental Management; Final Report INT-95066-RJVA. (71 KB; 20 pages)

Finney, M. A.; Andrews, P. L. 1999. FARSITE: Fire Area Simulator—a program for fire growth simulation. Fire Management Notes 59(2): 13-15. (71 KB; 3 pages)

Finney, M. A.; Andrews, P. L.. 1998. Application and status of the FARSITE fire area simulator. In: Proceedings of the III International Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology; 1998 November 16-20; Luso, Coimbra-Portugal: 755-760. (4,154 KB; 6 pages)

Finney, M. A.; Andrews, P. L. 1998. The FARSITE Fire Area Simulator: fire management applications and lessons of Summer 1994. In: Close K. and Bartlette R. A.,eds. Fire management under fire (Adapting to Change), Proceedings of the Interior West Fire Council Meeting and Program, International Association of Wildland Fire: 209-215. (9,705 KB; 7 pages)

Finney, M. A. 1995. Fire growth modeling in the Sierra Nevada of California. In: Brown, J. K.; Mutch, R. W.; Spoon, C. W.; and Wakimoto, R. H., eds. Proceedings of a Symposium on Fire in Wilderness and Park Management; 1995 March 30 - April 1; Missoula, MT. (4,424 KB; 3 pages)

Finney, M. A.; Ryan, K. C. 1995. Use of the FARSITE fire growth model for fire prediction in U.S. National Parks. In: Proceedings of the International Emergency Management and Engineering Conference; 1995 May; Sofia Antipolis, France: 183-189. (11,469 KB; 7 pages)

Finney, M. A. 1994. Modeling the spread and behavior of prescribed natural fires. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology. 1993 October 26-28; Jekyll Island, GA. (589 KB; 6 pages)

Fuel Treatment Evaluation using FARSITE

Stratton, R. D. 2004. Assessing the effectiveness of landscape fuel treatments on fire growth and behavior. Journal of Forestry. 102(7): 32-40. (550 KB; 9 pages)

Van Wagtendonk, J. W. 1996. Use of a deterministic fire growth model to test fuel treatments. In: Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final Report to Congress. Davis, CA: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources: volume II, chapter 43. (783 KB; 12 pages)

Finney, M. A.; Sapsis, D. B.; Bahro, B. 2002. Use of FARSITE for simulating fire suppression and analyzing fuel treatment economics. In: Symposium on fire and California ecosystems: integrating ecology, prevention and management; 1997 November 17-20, San Diego, CA. (1,132 KB; 16 pages)

Cochrane, M. A.; Moran, C. J.; Wimberly, M. C.; Baer, A. D.; Finney, M. A.; Beckendorf, K. L.; Eidenshink, J.; Zhu, Z. 2012. Estimation of wildfire size and risk changes due to fuels treatments. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 21: 357-367.