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    Author(s): Susan J. Prichard; Anne G. Andreu; Roger D. OttmarEllen Eberhardt
    Date: 2019
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-972. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 77 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (4.0 MB)


    The Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) was designed to store and archive wildland fuel characteristics within fuelbeds, defined as the inherent physical characteristics of fuels that contribute to fire behavior and effects. The FCCS represents fuel characteristics in six strata including canopy, shrubs, herbaceous fuels, downed wood, litter-lichen-moss, and ground fuels. Each stratum is further divided into one or more categories and subcategories to represent the complexity of wildland and managed fuels. A variety of techniques to measure and summarize fuelbed data are detailed in this guide. This guide is organized by strata and categories to facilitate data input into FCCS fuelbeds and provides field sampling forms by stratum. The first section provides an overview of how FCCS reference fuelbeds were constructed from databases, literature sources, and expert opinion. The guide next describes how regional pathway fuelbeds can provide a systematic set of management fuelbeds that track vegetation and fuel succession over time as well as management activities such as prescribed burning and mechanical thinning. The final section details common field sampling methodologies for users who wish to use field measurements to construct FCCS fuelbeds.

    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.


    Prichard, Susan J.; Andreu, Anne G.; Ottmar, Roger D.; Eberhardt, Ellen. 2019. Fuel Characteristic Classification System (FCCS) field sampling and fuelbed development guide. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-972. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 77 p.


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    Biomass, fuel characteristics, fuel treatments, field methods, wildland fire.

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