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The fuelbed: a key element of the Fuel Characteristic Classification System.


Cynthia L. Riccardi
David V. Sandberg
Anne Andreu
Ella Elman
Karen Kopper
Jennifer Long



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Pacific Northwest Research Station


Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 37: 2394-2412


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.


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


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