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Next Generation Fire Severity Mapping


The Next Generation Fire Severity Mapping is a tool designed to depict the probability of high-severity fire, if a fire were to occur, for several ecoregions in the contiguous western U.S. Statistical models were used to generate “wall-to-wall” maps for 13 of the 19 ecoregions. 


Managers can use this information to identify areas with a high probability of having a high-severity fire. Knowing this information, managers can make decisions regarding the use of fuel reduction treatments, such as prescribed fire or allowing a wildland fire to burn if the weather conditions are less than extreme. Managers can also use this tool to see where conversion of forest to grassland or other non-forest ecosystem is occurring. This is useful when working with stakeholders to generate financing for controlled burns or to help determine risk-quantifications for fire insurance. companies. 


Overview and Applicability

The Next Generation Fire Severity Mapping provides a series of downloadable maps. All maps use fuel data representing the year 2016 and therefore provide a fairly up-to-date assessment of the potential for high-severity fire.


  • Observed data from over 2000 fires were used to build individual models for each of the 19 ecoregions in the contiguous U.S.
  • High-severity fire was measured using a fire severity metric termed the relativized burn ratio, which uses pre- and postfire Landsat imagery to measure fire-induced ecological change. 


  • "Wall-to-wall" maps depicting the probability of high-severity fire, if a fire were to occur, for 13 of the 19 ecoregions.
  • For the six ecoregions in which the relative influence of fire weather was fairly strong, two additional maps were produced; one depicts the probability of high-severity fire under moderate weather and the other under extreme weather.

Canadian Rockies Ecoregion
Canadian Rockies Ecoregion

Restrictions and Limitations

Users of these data should thoroughly read the README [pdf] file to better understand appropriate uses and interpretations of the data products distributed within this tool.



Parks, S.A., Holsinger, L.M., Panunto M.H., Jolly, W.M., Dobrowski, S.Z., and Dillon, G.K. Next Generation Fire Severity Mapping. Available online at


Parks, Sean A. ; Holsinger, Lisa M. ; Panunto, Matthew H. ; Jolly, William M. ; Dobrowski, Solomon Z. ; Dillon, Gregory K. , 2018