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The Fire History Analysis and Exploration System (FHAES)

Date: August 19, 2015

Logo for the FHAES tool.
Logo for the FHAES tool.
Are wildfires that burn now so different from the past? Will burned ecosystems be so altered that they become different ecosystems? These questions motivate scientists to learn about fire regimes of the past and find out what drove fire behavior. Managers use this information to characterize disturbance regimes and assess how ecosystems are functioning now compared to the past. Documenting the natural range of variation of disturbance in an area is a required element of land management planning. Often that information comes from fire scar studies. Scientists sample scars from many trees that have been injured but not killed by fire in an area and need to easily organize and analyze fire regime information. 

Key Findings

We developed the Fire History Analysis and Exploration System (, a system of Java applications for the user to input data and calculate statistics used to present fire regime characteristics. FHAES derived from an earlier program (FHX2), but is improved by the development of new statistics and with results being easily transported to spreadsheets and GIS systems.

FHAES can be used to analyze any event data, like insect infestations or floods. And this information can come from a variety of sources, not just from tree rings. 

Collaborations and Future Work

We continue to add new statistical analyses, working with student programmers at the University of Wisconsin who write apps in class and compete to have their app used in FHAES. 

FHAES tool developers work through model statistical computations.
FHAES tool developers work through model statistical computations.

National Strategic Program Areas: 
Wildland Fire and Fuels
National Priority Research Areas: 
Climate Change; Forest Disturbances
RMRS Science Program Areas: 
Forest and Woodland Ecosystems
RMRS Strategic Priorities: 
Disturbance Ecology; Fire Sciences
Principal Investigators: 
External Partners: 
Drs. Peter Brewer, Donald Falk, and Thomas Swetnam, University of Arizona
Dr. M. Elena Velasquez, Boise State University
Drs. Kun Tian and Evan Larson, University of Wisconsin - Platteville
Dr. Henri Grissino-Mayer, University of Tennessee
Dr. Peter Brown, Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research Inc.