A publication of the
National Wildfire
Coordinating Group

Fire Behavior 
Field Reference Guide

PMS 437                                                                                                DECEMBER 2017  

Fire Behavior Field Reference Guide

December 2017
PMS 437

The Fire Behavior Field Reference Guide describes a range of practices by which fire behavior assessments are conducted for fireline leadership in the field, and by Fire Behavior Analysts (FBANs) and Long Term Fire Analysts (LTANs) in support of more sophisticated analysis. It is a hands-on publication for use in the field, in fire behavior training, and as a learning reference. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the Fireline Handbook, Appendix B: Fire Behavior, PMS 410-2, https://www.nwcg.gov/publications/410-2.

The Guide contains helpful references to the factors from the fire triangle (fuels, weather, and topography), including features that are vital to field-going fire managers. It provides detail about the fire behavior models and tools used to estimate fire ignition, spread/size, fireline intensity, and crown fire potential. The reference material contained within the guide will assist with decision support using various tools and methodologies.

The guide will be updated as necessary to reflect the most recent science and technologies for field use to help improve and assist with decision support, fireline safety, and fire behavior interpretation. As new and improved safety zone research is obtained and available for distribution, this guide will be updated to house that information. YouTube videos will be uploaded periodically to provide additional supporting documentation for information found within this guide and can be viewed at www.youtube.com/user/FireBehaviorSC.

The Fire Behavior Field Reference Guide is developed and maintained by the Fire Behavior Subcommittee (FBSC), under the direction of the Fire Environment Committee (FENC), an entity of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

Previous editions: 2014, 2001, 1992. The 1992 edition was maintained and published through National Advanced Resources Technology Center (NARTC), currently known as the National Advanced Fire and Resource Institute (NAFRI).

While they may still contain current or useful information, previous editions are obsolete. The user of this information is responsible for confirming that they have the most up-to-date version. NWCG is the sole source for the publication.

This publication is available electronically at https://www.nwcg.gov/publications/437.

Comments, questions, and recommendations shall be submitted to the appropriate agency representative assigned to the FBSC. View the complete roster at https://www.nwcg.gov/committees/fire-behavior-subcommittee/roster.

Publications and training materials produced by NWCG are in the public domain. Use of public domain information, including copying, is permitted. Use of NWCG information within another document is permitted if NWCG information is accurately credited to NWCG. The NWCG logo may not be used except on NWCG authorized information. “National Wildfire Coordinating Group,” “NWCG,” and the NWCG logo are trademarks of NWCG.

The use of trade, firm, or corporation names or trademarks in NWCG products is solely for the information and convenience of the reader and does not constitute endorsement by NWCG or its member agencies or any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) provides national leadership to enable interoperable wildland fire operations among federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local partners. NWCG operations standards are interagency by design; they are developed with the intent of universal adoption by the member agencies. However, the decision to adopt and utilize them is made independently by the individual member agencies and communicated through their respective directives systems.

Robert Ziel,
Jan 3, 2018, 3:17 AM