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FARSITE is a fire growth simulation modeling system. It uses spatial information on topography and fuels along with weather and wind files. It incorporates existing models for surface fire, crown fire, spotting, post-frontal combustion, and fire acceleration into a 2-dimensional fire growth model.

Overview and Applicability

Screenshot of the FARSITE tool.
Screenshot of the FARSITE tool.
FARSITE computes wildfire growth and behavior for long time periods under heterogeneous conditions of terrain, fuels, and weather. FARSITE is widely used by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and other federal and state land management agencies to simulate the spread of wildfires and fire use for resource benefit across the landscape. It is designed for users familiar with fuels, weather, topography, wildfire situations and the associated terminology. Because of its complexity, only users with the proper fire behavior training and experience should use FARSITE where the outputs are to be used for making fire and land management decisions.

FARSITE uses the following spatial and tabular data (similar to FlamMap):

  • Landscape (.LCP) file,
  • Initial Fuel Moistures (.FMS) file,
  • optional Custom Fuel Model (.FMD) files,
  • optional Conversion (.CNV) files,
  • optional Weather (.WTR) files, and
  • optional Wind (.WND) files.

FARSITE incorporates the following fire behavior models:

  • Rothermel's (1972) surface fire spread model,
  • Van Wagner's (1977) crown fire initiation model,
  • Rothermel's (1991) crown fire spread model,
  • Albini's (1979) spotting model, and
  • Nelson's (2000) dead fuel moisture model.

FARSITE computes wildfire growth and behavior for long time periods under heterogeneous conditions of terrain, fuels, and weather. It uses existing fire behavior models for surface fire spread (Rothermel 1972), crown fire initiation (Van Wagner 1977), and crown fire spread (Rothermel 1991), post-frontal combustion (Albini and others 1995; Albini and Reinhardt 1995), and dead fuel moisture (Nelson 2000).

FARSITE is a deterministic modeling system, meaning that simulation results can be directly compared to inputs. This system can be used to simulate air and ground suppression actions as well as for fire "gaming," asking multiple "what-if" questions and comparing the results.


Spatial information on topography and fuels.  Required spatial data for FARSITE can be accessed from:


Potential fire behavior characteristics (for example, spread rate, flame length, crown fire activity) and environmental conditions (dead fuel moistures, mid-flame wind speeds, and solar irradiance) over an entire FARSITE landscape.


FARSITE is a spatial fire modeling system that produces outputs that are compatible with PC and Workstation graphics and GIS software for later analysis and display. It accepts both GRASS and ARC/INFO GIS raster data themes.

Technical Support

The first level of technical support is provided through your local support channels.

The second level of technical support is provided by the U.S. Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management Fire Applications Help Desk. Please check these FAQs for answers to your questions before contacting the Fire Applications Help Desk. The Fire Applications Help Desk is available for help with software issues only.

•Phone at 866-224-7677 or 360-326-6002,
•Fax at 866-328-1364, or
•E-mail at


An online tutorial is included in the online Help and example data sets are provided with the installation download. Currently, no formal training course exists for FARSITE.


Scott, Joe H.; Burgan, Robert E. 2005. Standard fire behavior fuel models: a comprehensive set for use with Rothermel''s surface fire spread model. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-153. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 72 p.

Finney, Mark A. 2004. FARSITE: Fire Area Simulator-model development and evaluation. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-4, Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 47 p.

Finney, M. A. 1999. Spatial Modeling of Post-Frontal Fire Behavior. Missoula, MT: Systems for Environmental Management; Final Report RMRS-99557-RJVA. (90 KB; 8 pages)

Finney, M. A. 1999. Mechanistic modeling of landscape fire patterns. In: Mladenoff, D. J. and Baker, W. L. eds. Spatial modeling of forest landscape change: approaches and applications. Cambridge University Press: 186-209.

Finney, Mark A. 1995. FARSITE: a fire area simulator for fire managers. In: Weise, David R.; Martin, Robert E., technical coordinators. The Biswell symposium: fire issues and solutions in urban interface and wildland ecosystems; February 15-17, 1994; Walnut Creek, California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-158. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 55-56.

Albini, F. A.; Brown, J. K.; Reinhardt, E. D.; Ottmar, R. D. 1995. Calibration of a large fuel burnout model. International Journal of Wildland Fire 5(23): 173-192. (1,336 KB; 20 pages)

Albini, F. A.; Reinhardt, E. D. 1995. Modeling ignition and burning rate of large woody natural fuels. International Journal of Wildland Fire 5(2): 81-91. (873 KB; 11 pages)


Finney, M. FARSITE. Available online at

Release Notes

FlamMap is the most recent certified version (December 19, 2012).

Research Topics: 
National Strategic Program Areas: 
Wildland Fire and Fuels
National Priority Research Areas: 
Forest Disturbances
RMRS Science Program Areas: 
Fire, Fuel and Smoke
RMRS Strategic Priorities: 
Fire Sciences