National Wildfire Coordinating Group


  1. Measures of Stability
  2. Lower Atmospheric Stability (Haines) Index

Measures of Stability

Index Major Factors Primary Utility Application
Davis Stability Index Lapse rate Basic measure of stability Southeast US
Ventilation Index Mixing height and transport wind Smoke dispersion United States
Haines (Lower Atmospheric Stability) Index Lapse rate and relative humidity Large fire growth potential United States
Pasquill Stability Index Solar radiation, cloud cover and surface wind speed (surface based stability) Smoke dispersion SASEM
Lavdas Atmospheric Dispersion Index Pasquill, mixing height, transport wind Smoke dispersion and fire growth potential. Florida

Lower Atmospheric Stability (Haines) Index

The Lower Atmospheric Severity Index, commonly known as the Haines Index, was developed during the 1980s as a fire weather tool to estimate the effect of atmospheric dryness and stability on the growth potential of a wildfire. The goal was to identify typical combinations of humidity and stability and contrast them with combinations of stability and humidity prevalent during problem fire outbreaks. Always reference local Climatology, see below.

Haines Index Calculation Criteria

LOW ELEVATION Stability Term (A) LOW ELEVATION Moisture Term (B)
950 – 850 mb °C
A = 1 when 3°C or less
A = 2 when 4-7°C
A = 3 when 8°C or more
950 mb T° C – 950 DP° C
B = 1 when 5° C or less
B = 2 when 6-9° C
B = 3 when 10° C or more
MID ELEVATION Stability Term (A) MID ELEVATION Moisture Term (B)
850 – 700 mb °C
A = 1 when 5°C or less
A = 2 when 6-10°C
A = 3 when 11°C or more
850 mb T° C – 850 DP° C
B = 1 when 5° C or less
B = 2 when 6-12° C
B = 3 when 13° C or more
HIGH ELEVATION Stability Term (A) HIGH ELEVATION Moisture Term (B)
700 – 500 mb °C
A = 1 when 17°C or less
A = 2 when 18-21°C
A = 3 when 22°C or more
700 mb T° C – 700 DP° C
B = 1 when 14° C or less
B = 2 when 15-20° C
B = 3 when 21° C or more
Haines Index (A + B) Potential for Large Fire
2 or 3
Very Low

U.S. Haines Elevation Classification Map

The Haines, or Lower Atmospheric Stability Index, uses different inputs based on the general classification of terrain elevation.  This map displays areas of High, Mid, and Low elevation areas.

Haines Index Climatology




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