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Fire Characteristics Chart | Print |

bp-firechart_thumbnailThe Fire Characteristics Chart program is a computer program for personal computers.


A Fire Characteristics Chart is a graph that displays primary fire behavior-related variables (rate of spread, flame length, and heat per unit area) for both surface and crown fire. It is a stand-alone component of the BehavePlus fire modeling system. Modeled or observed fire behavior can be entered into the program and displayed on the graph. This program contains graphs for both surface and crown fire behavior, which differ because the flame length models are different for surface and crown fire modeling. Graphs aid communication and interpret modeled or observed fire behavior. Fire characteristics charts can be used for improved model understanding, prescribed fire planning, briefings, and case studies.

Principal Investigators

Faith Ann Heinsch, Research Ecologist
Patricia L. Andrews, Research Physical Scientist

Luke Schelvan (Systems for Environmental Management)

Goals and Objectives

The program is designed to graphically demonstrate the relationships among three fire behavior variables. The Fire Characteristics Chart is supported as part of the BehavePlus fire modeling system.

Project Status

The Fire Characteristics Chart program replaces the fire characteristics chart within the SURFACE module of BehavePlus, with improved graphics and the addition of crown fire behavior. The surface and crown fire behavior charts were released in June 2011. A fire danger rating chart is currently under development and will be added to the program in the near future. The program is current supported by publications (listed below) that contain information on application and operation of the program.

This program is supported by the Forest Service Fire Applications Support desk in Boise, Idaho, as part of the BehavePlus fire modeling system.

Funding Organization

Funding for development of the Fire Characteristics Chart and supporting materials is from Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and Fire and Aviation Management.

Publications and Products

The Fire Characteristics Chart program, publications, and other supporting material are available on firemodels.org. The BehavePlus Publications page includes current and historic papers that describe the Fire Characteristics Chart.

Andrews, P. L., F. A. Heinsch, L. Schelvan. (2011) How to generate and interpret fire characteristics charts for surface and crown fire behavior. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-253 WWW. Fort Collins, CO: Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Heinsch. F.A, P. L. Andrews. (2010) Fire characteristics charts for fire behavior and U.S. fire danger rating. In ‘3rd fire behavior and fuels conference’. 25-29 October 2010, Spokane, Washington.