Fire Modeling Tools

System for Environmental Management
System for Environmental Management

A variety of fire modelling software is available for scientists and managers to use. A comprehensive listing, along with descriptions and downloads for most of these packages are located at the System for Environmental Management:


Forest Fire in the Colorado
Photo Credit: Arthur Allen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library

Wildland fire plays a natural and necessary role in shaping the composition, structure, and ecological processes of many of the world's ecosystems. Species adaptations to fire are many and varied; depending on the plant communities present in a given fire regime, fire can help to induce seed release, flowering or fruiting in shrubs, and seral changes in stands with trees having fire-resistant or growth-related fire adaptations. Fire also helps to clear fuel buildup in understories, cleanse areas of disease and insect outbreaks, and/or cycle nutrients into the soil.

Prompted by resource interests (i.e., timber extraction) and social objectives (e.g., protection of homes built along the urban-wildland interface), suppression dominated fire management policies in the U.S. for much of the 20th century. While it remains a prevalent management response in this country, the link between suppression-related fuel build-up and catastrophic wildfires has seen growing recognition, and the advancement of fire science has improved the capacity of managers to address individual fires with more discretion depending on their specific ecological and social contexts.

To learn more about fire ecology and fire science, visit the links below and throughout this page:

  • The Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), a partnership of six federal agencies, was established in 1998 to provide scientific information and support for wildland fuel and fire management programs.
  • The U.S. Fire Learning Network implemented the methodology to map Fire Regime Condition Class, or FRCC, a measure of the degree to which the vegetation and disturbance regime of a given area are departed from historical conditions. The Intermountain West FLN is presently offering this innovative technology and other quantitative tools to help five landscape-scale projects achieve fire and other conservation goals.
  • The USDA Forest Service Coronado National Forest (Arizona) fire management program is guided by the concept of appropriate suppression response, and seeks to suppress wildfires at a minimum cost consistent with land and resource management objectives and fire management direction.

Fire Resources for the Southwest Region
Showing 10 of 30 ( Show All )
CollapseA GIS Database for Sage Grouse and Shrubsteppe Management in the Intermountain West
Description: This site is a portal for spatial data needed for research and management of sage grouse and shrubsteppe systems. The site is dynamically changing as we update current information and incorporate new data. Therefore, subsequent visits will reveal new data. Visit often to see what new data layers are available!
Resource Type: Databases and Information Systems
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: United States Geological Survey
ExpandArapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Pawnee National Grasslands
ExpandArizona State Forestry Division: Fire Management
ExpandAutoupdating KML for Global Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Hotspots
ExpandCerro Grande Wildfire Site
ExpandColorado State Cooperative Extension
ExpandColorado State Forest Service
ExpandDrought Impacts on Regional Ecosystems Network (DIREnet Portal)
ExpandFire and Fuels - Chapter 4 (SNEP Final Report to Congress)
ExpandFire Information for Resource Management System

Featured Fire Resource

[Image: John Black, University of Idaho]

The Fire Research And Management Exchange System or FRAMES is a web-based information management system designed to facilitate information transfer between wildland fire science and management.

The stated goal is "to make wildland fire data, metadata, tools, and other information resources easy to find, access, distribute, compare, and use."

FRAMES offers a single secure access point to critical information and applications such as datasets, databases, publications, decision support tools, simulation models, interactive CD-ROMs, videos, and other tools.

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
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