National Wildfire Coordinating Group

NFDRS PocketCards


The National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) PocketCard is a tool for field personnel to locally track fire potential throughout the season. It is based on historical weather and fire occurrence for a localized area. The PocketCard displays a general assessment of the fire potential and identifies combinations of local weather and fuel conditions that might contribute to severe fire behavior.

The PocketCard provides:

  • A general indicator of the potential fire danger for a given rating or protection area.
  • A graph showing the trend and status of the current year’s fire season.
  • A comparison of current year conditions to historical worst and average conditions.
  • Fire danger values related to past large or problem fires.
  • Critical local thresholds for temperature, humidity, wind speed, and fuel moistures associated with large or notable fires.

Discuss the following ways to use the PocketCard:

  • Use it primarily before fires occur or before arriving at a fire. It is also useful during initial fire size-up, initial attack, and extended attack.
  • Use it to learn critical local area thresholds that predict the potential for extreme fire behavior. Be aware that these critical thresholds can occur earlier or later in the season.
  • Use it to compare current and predicted local fire danger to historical local fire danger for enhanced situation awareness.
  • Use it to track daily fire danger indices that gauge the potential for weather and fuels to support extreme fire behavior, as well as affect the difficulty of control.
  • Use it to supplement local experience.
  • Use it as a point of reference for firefighters not familiar with the area represented by the card.
  • When you receive a fire assignment outside your local area, visit the National PocketCard website, where PocketCards are filed by geographic area.
  • Put it in the pocket of all your firefighters and keep one in each fire vehicle.
  • Post it in dispatch. Use them in briefings. Provide them to incoming crews.
  • Do not use the PocketCard for site-specific fire behavior predictions, fireline actions, or without an interpretive briefing.
  • Review definitions and implications of Energy Release Component (ERC) and Burning Index (BI) values.


Weather - Fire Behavior
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Sep 2021

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