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FIRESEV - Modeling and mapping fire severity

A fire severity mapping system for real time fire management application and long-term planning.

FIRESEV (FIRE SEVerity Mapping Tools) is a comprehensive set of tools and protocols to deliver, create, and evaluate fire severity maps for all phases of fire management. It can be used to create real-time fire severity maps on its own or along with current satellite imagery products to enhance data analysis of fire effects. The set of tools and protocols for FIRESEV includes: 1) a Severe Fire Potential Map based on statistical modeling with satellite-derived observations of severity from past fires, 2) a mapping algorithm that integrates simulation modeling into the Wildland Fire Assessment Tool, 3) research papers, and 4) other helpful information to improve descriptions, interpretations, and mapping of fire severity.

The primary tools developed as part of FIRESEV can be downloaded from the Fire Research and Management Exchange System (FRAMES) web site. The Severe Fire Potential Map (SFPM) is available at the FRAMES FIRESEV page. It covers all lands in the western conterminous U.S., and can be used by fire managers to plan for future wildfires or manage wildfires in real time. The mapping algorithm within the Wildland Fire Assessment Tool (WFAT) is used for fuel treatment planning to predict potential fire effects under prescribed fire weather conditions. With WFAT, fire severity can be mapped explicitly from fire effects simulation models (i.e., FOFEM, Consume, etc.) for real-time wildfire applications and planning.

The FIRESEV project has also produced a suite of research studies, synthesis papers, and popular articles that are designed to expand managers’ knowledge and provide guidelines on how to measure, interpret, and apply fire severity in fire management. The final report on FIRESEV to the Joint Fire Sciences program (study JFSP-09-1-07-4) is available for review. Links to each tool, protocol, and product are found within the final report.

As of early 2015, we are working on expanding the Severe Fire Potential Map into the eastern United States. Our goal is to have data available for all of the conterminous U.S. by spring of 2016.

Photo: Fire scene

A low severity fire burning in lodgepole pine in central Montana

Modified: Mar 10, 2020

Select Publications & Products

Sikkink, Pamela G., 2014, Comparison of Six Fire Severity Classification Methods Using Montana and Washington Wildland Fires In: Keane, Robert E.; Jolly, Matt; Parsons, Russell; Riley, Karin. 2015. Proceedings of the large wildland fires conference; May 19-23, 2014; Missoula, MT. Proc. RMRS-P-73. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 213-226.

Dillon, Gregory K.; Holden, Zachary A.; Morgan, Penelope; Crimmins, Michael A.; Heyerdahl, Emily K.; Luce, Charles H. 2011a. Both topography and climate affected forest and woodland burn severity in two regions of the western US, 1984 to 2006. Ecosphere2(12)1-15:art130.

Dillon, Greg; Morgan, Penny; Holden, Zack. 2011b. Mapping the potential for high severity wildfire in the western United States.Fire Management Today 71(2):25-30.

Drury, Stacy A.; Herynk, Jason M. 2011. The national tree-list layer. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-254. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 26 p.

Karau, Eva C.; Sikkink, Pamela G.; Keane, Robert E.; Dillon, Gregory K. 2014. Integrating satellite imagery with simulation modeling to improve burn severity mapping. Environmental Management. 54(1): 98-111.

Keane, Robert E.; Dillon, Greg; Drury, Stacy; Innes, Robin; Morgan, Penny; Lutes, Duncan; Prichard, Susan J.; Smith, Jane; Strand, Eva. 2014. New and revised fire effects tools for fire management. Fire Management Today. 73(3): 37-47.

Miller, Sue. 2013. Seeing Red: New Tools for Mapping and Understanding Fire Severity. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Science You Can Use Bulletin. Issue 6, July/August 2013.

Morgan, Penelope; Keane, Robert E.; Dillon, Gregory K.; Jain, Theresa B.; Hudak, Andrew T.; Karau, Eva C.; Sikkink, Pamela G.; Holden, Zachary A.; Strand, Eva K. 2014. Challenges of assessing fire and burn severity using field measures, remote sensing and modelling. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 23(8): 1045-1060.

Sikkink, Pamela G.; Dillon, Gregory K.; Keane, Robert.E., Morgan, Penelope; Karau, Eva C.; Holden, Zachary A.; Silverstein, Robin P. 2013. Composite Burn Index (CBI) data and field photos collected for the FIRESEV project, western United States. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

Sikkink, Pamela G; Keane, Robert E. 2012. Predicting fire severity using surface fuels and moisture. Res. Paper. RMRS-RP-96. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 54 p.

Strand, Eva K; Hyde, Joshua C. 2012. Wildland Fire Assessment Tool Webinar. Southwest Fire Science Consortium, May 16, 2012.