United States Department of Agriculture
The Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) calculates and classifies fuelbed characteristics and their potential fire behavior. Users may access fuelbeds from a fuelbed library or create their own custom fuelbeds. FCCS fuelbeds represent fuels throughout much of North America and were compiled from published literature, fuels photo series, other fuels data sets and expert opinion. FCCS fuelbeds have been mapped in LANDFIRE and are preloaded in the Fuel and Fire Tools application. Regional fuelbed datasets representing a range of vegetation types and management scenarios for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (WA), central Oregon, northeastern Oregon and Lake Tahoe (CA) are available. Users can customize FCCS fuelbeds to create a set of fuelbeds representing any scale of interest.
When a user has completed editing fuelbed data, FCCS reports input and calculated fuel characteristics for each existing fuelbed component, from canopy fuels to ground fuels. Outputs are available in English or metric units. FCCS also calculates the relative fire hazard of each fuelbed, including surface fire behavior, crown fire, and available fuel potentials, scaled on an index from 0 to 9. These FCCS fire potentials facilitate communication of fire hazard among users and provide an index of the intrinsic capacity of each fuelbed for surface fire behavior, crown fire and available consumption of fuels under dry benchmark environmental conditions (no slope, 4 mph midflame wind speed, and dry fuel moistures).
The FCCS predicts surface fire behavior, including reaction intensity (BTU ft-1 min-1), flame length (ft), and rate of spread (ft min-1) based on benchmark and user-specified environmental conditions. By comparing predicted flame length and rate of spread, FCCS provides a crosswalk to one of the original 13 Fire Behavior Prediction System fuel models and one of the 40 standard fuel models. FCCS also reports carbon storage by fuelbed category and subcategory. FCCS version 3.0 has been recoded as a calculator module that can be run as a batch mode or as an option within the Fuel and Fire Tools application.
FCCS facilitates the mapping of fuelbed characteristics and fire hazard assessment ( http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/fera/fccs), by providing fuelbeds, fuelbed characteristics, and associated predicted surface fire behavior, crown fire, and available fuel potentials. FCCS also provides the necessary inputs to run fuel consumption and emission production models, such as Consume v. 4.2, the Fire Emissions Production Simulator (FEPS v. 2.0), BlueSky, and the Wildland Fire Emissions Inventory System (WFEIS).
The system is currently being showcased as a tool to map fuelbeds and fire hazard, which allows managers to maximize fuel treatment effectiveness on the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests, and on the Deschutes National Forest. FERA has also demonstrated the use of FCCS as the basis for a national air pollutant and carbon emission inventory, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. LANDFIRE includes a map layer of the FCCS fuelbeds throughout the United States which can be used for fuel treatment decision support at larger scales.
The FCCS has been shared with managers and scientists in over 30 regional workshops across the United States and through eight published papers in a special section of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research.
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