Fire Danger Levels

Smokey Bear with a Fire Danger sign

The current Fire Danger Level is shown on Home & Alerts & Notices in the upper right corner.

The Fire Danger Level is classified as Low, Moderate, High, or Extreme.

Scroll down to learn more about what each Level means.

Fire Danger Levels Description

Fire Danger Rating System - Low


  • Fuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands, although a more intense heat source such as lightning may start many fires in duff or punky wood.
  • Fires in open cured grassland may burn freely a few hours after rain, but woods fire spread slowly by creeping or smoldering, and burn in irregular fingers.
  • There is little danger of spotting.

The color code is green.

Fire Danger Rating System - Moderate


  • Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number of starts is generally low.
  • Fires in open-cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Wood fires spread slowly to moderately fast.
  • The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent.
  • Fires are not likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy.

The color code is blue.

Fire Danger Rating System - High


  • All fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from any cause.
  • Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape.
  • Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common.
  • High intensity burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of fine fuel.
  • Fire may become serious and their control difficult unless they are hit hard and fast while small.

The color code is yellow.

Fire Danger Rating System - Extreme


  • Fires under extreme conditions start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely.
  • All fires are potentially serious.
  • Development into high intensity burning will usually be faster and occur from smaller fires than in the high danger class.
  • Direct attack is rarely possible and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition.
  • Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning conditions last. Under these conditions, the only effective and safe control action is on the flanks until the weather changes, or the fuel supply lessens.

The color code is red.