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    Author(s): Susan J. Prichard; David V. Sandberg; Roger D. OttmarEllen Eberhardt; Anne Andreu; Paige Eagle; Kjell Swedin
    Date: 2013
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-887. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 79 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (7.0 MB)


    The Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) is a software module that records wildland fuel characteristics and calculates potential fire behavior and hazard potentials based on input environmental variables. The FCCS 3.0 is housed within the Integrated Fuels Treatment Decision Support System (Joint Fire Science Program 2012). It can also be run from command line as a stand-alone calculator. The flexible design of FCCS allows users to represent the structural complexity and diversity of fuels created through natural processes (e.g., forest succession and disturbance) and management activities (e.g., forest harvesting and fuels reduction). Each fuelbed is organized into six strata, including canopy, shrubs, herbaceous vegetation, woody fuels, litter-lichen-moss, and ground fuels. Strata are further divided into categories and subcategories. Fuelbeds representing common fuel types throughout much of North America are available in the FCCS reference library. Users may select an FCCS fuelbed to represent their specific project or customize a fuelbed to reflect actual site conditions. The FCCS reports the following results: (1) fuel characteristics by fuelbed, stratum, category, and subcategory; (2) surface fire behavior (i.e., reaction intensity, rate of spread, and flame length); and (3) FCCS fire potential ratings of surface fire behavior, crown fire behavior, and available fuels. With its large fuels data set and ability to represent a wide variety of fuel conditions, the FCCS has numerous applications, from small-scale fuel reduction projects to large-scale emissions and carbon assessments. This report provides technical documentation of the required inputs and computations in the FCCS.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Prichard, Susan J.; Sandberg, David V.; Ottmar, Roger D.; Eberhardt, Ellen; Andreu, Anne; Eagle, Paige; Swedin, Kjell. 2013. Fuel Characteristic Classification System version 3.0: technical documentation. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-887. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 79 p.


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    Fuel characteristics, fire behavior, fire modeling, carbon, biomass.

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