You are here

First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM)


FOFEM (a First Order Fire Effects Model) is a computer program for predicting tree mortality, fuel consumption, smoke production, and soil heating caused by prescribed fire or wildfire.


First order fire effects are those that concern the direct or indirect or immediate consequences of fire. First order fire effects form an important basis for prediction secondary effects such as tree regeneration plant succession, and changes in site productivity, but these long-term effects generally involve interaction with many variables (for example,, weather, animal use, insects, and disease) and are not predicted by this program. Currently, FOFEM provides quantitative fire effects information for tree mortality, fuel consumption mineral soil exposure, smoke, and soil heating. Estimated emissions are included for CO2, CO, CH4, SO2, NOx, PM2.5 and PM10.

Restrictions and Limitations

FOFEM is a point model which means that it predicts fuel consumption and smoke emissions for a point on the landscape/stand (about 1-5 m2). The extrapolation of that point measurement upwards in scale is at the discretion of the user. Fuel and moisture conditions across a stand and landscape are notoriously variable so one point estimate for large areas can introduce bias into the predictions. The appropriate scaling up of FOFEM predictions is the most important consideration in using the model. Another important consideration is the accurate measurement of the inputs that go into FOFEM, namely fuel loadings and fuel moistures. The more accurate the measurements are, the more realistic the predictions. Users should also keep in mind that the default values provided in FOFEM are based on literature but may not accurately reflect local conditions. Areas where fire effects research is limited or where fires are infrequent may be particularly subject to error


Keane, R. and D. Lutes. First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM). Available online at

Release Notes

Updates in FOFEM Ver. 6.3.1 (as of July 2016):

  • Updated soil heating logic for duff and non-duff models
  • Updated litter and herb consumption equations, and updated some default fuel loadings for the southeast
  • New pocosin duff consumption equation added
  • FLM fuelbeds updated to match LANDFIRE attribute table
  • Accepts new FFI file imports files that include monitoring status


Prichard, Susan J. ; Karau, Eva C. ; Ottmar, Roger D. ; Kennedy, Maureen C. ; Cronan, James B. ; Wright, Clinton S. ; Keane II, Robert E. , 2014
Reinhardt, Elizabeth D. ; Dickinson, Matthew B. , 2010
Reinhardt, Elizabeth D. ; Keane II, Robert E. ; Brown, James K. , 1997

Research Topics: 
Fire; Prescribed fire; Smoke
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