Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Wildland fuelbed characteristics are temporally and spatially complex and can vary widely across regions. To capture this variability, we designed the Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS), a national system to create fuelbeds and classify those fuelbeds for their capacity to support fire and consume fuels. This paper describes the structure of the fuelbeds internal to FCCS. Fuelbeds are considered relatively homogeneous units on the landscape, representing distinct cornbuslion environments that determine potential fire behaviour and effects. The FCCS fuelbeds are organized into six strata: canopy, shrubs, nonwoody fuels, woody fuels, litter-lichen-moss, and ground fuels. Fuelbeds are described by several qualitative and quantitative physical and biological variables with emphasis on characteristics useful for fuels management and fire behaviour planning. The FCCS includes 216 fuelbeds that represent the major vegetation types of the United States. The FCCS fuelbeds can be used as presented or modified to create customized fuelbeds with general or site-specific data to address fire science management or research questions. This system allows resource managers to evaluate wildland fuels operations and management activities, fire hazard, and ecological and air quality impacts at small and large spatial scales. The FCCS fuelbeds represent the United States, although the system has the potential for building fuelbeds for international application.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Riccardi, Cynthia L.; Ottmar, Roger D.; Sandberg, David V.; Andreu, Anne; Elman, Ella; Kopper, Karen; Long, Jennifer. 2007. The fuelbed: a key element of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 37: 2394-2412


    Google Scholar

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page