A Process to Follow

  1. Examine Current Fire Situation (Location, Factors, Spread Direction, and Fire Behavior)
  2. Evaluate Unburned Areas Where You Are and Will Be Working
  3. Anticipate Expected Fire Situation in Those Areas
  4. Assess Fire Risk: Interpret Ignition and Crown Fire Potential
  5. Project Fire Spread, Flame Length and Spotting Distance
  6. Determine Decision Thresholds to Ensure LCES
  7. Document Your Assessment

What Makes a Good Analyst (Mark Finney...FBSC YouTube Video)
https://www.youtube.com/embed/UIS27uMdfG8

Examine Current Fire Situation (Location, Factors, Spread Direction, and Fire Behavior)

  • Fuel: Is it burning in grass, litter, or into shrubs and crowns?
  • Fuel Moisture: Are fuels dry? Are they still green?
  • Terrain: Is it burning upslope or downslope?
  • Weather: Is the wind pushing it or is it sheltered from the wind?
  • Fire Behavior: Is it smoldering, creeping, or actively spreading? Are the flames low, or is it burning hot?

Evaluate Unburned Areas Where You Are and Will Be Working

  • Which spread directions do you expect to be active?
  • Which seems like the spread directions that will produce the most problems?
  • Which of the spread directions are of most concern to you?

Anticipate Expected Fire Situation in Those Areas

  • Fuel: What fuel is it going to move in that direction? Will it burn hotter and faster or slower and cooler?
  • Fuel Moisture: Will the change in fuel moisture encourage extreme fire behavior?
  • Terrain: Slope reversal? Flat to upslope? Will changes increase or lower fire behavior?
  • Weather: As the fire moves, will it be more exposed to the wind? Will the wind increase in the future?
  • Fire Behavior: Do you anticipate the fire behavior being manageable, based on the anticipated changes?

Assess Fire Risk: Interpret Ignition and Crown Fire Potential

  • Is it the typical dry period for the area?
  • Is the overall drought situation enough to make it worse?
  • Has there been recent crown fire on this or other fires in the area?
  • Are humidity and fine fuel moisture low enough to encourage intense surface fire?
  • Is backing fire causing torching? If so, expect crown fire with head fire.
  • Is fire moving up ladder fuels? Expect at least short crown fire runs.

Project Fire Spread, Flame Length, and Spotting Distance

  • Select proper tool for assessment: Spatial tools in WFDSS, BehavePlus and field tools for quick analysis, Nomograms, and crown fire assessment tools are included here.
  • Can you calibrate projections with current fire behavior?
  • How precise do the projections need to be?

Determine Decision Thresholds to Ensure LCES

  • Determine time frames for escape to safety & escape routes. What windspeeds or changes in fire behavior will render those time frames insufficient?
  • Identify best locations and methods for lookout to monitor and validate your assessment.
  • Ensure that weather & fire behavior observations are communicated to the entire crew.
  • Will fatigue and logistics factors impact these decisions?

Document Your Assessment

  • Record your observations and assumptions.
  • Use worksheets and include notes for each assessment.
  • Include assessments and decisions in personal logs.
  • Remember: If you’re not keeping score, it’s just practice.
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
2019-03-12