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Observing Current Fire Behavior

Visual Fire Behavior Descriptions

Observing Flame Length vs. Flame Height

Observing Flames, as proxy for fireline intensity and indicator of tactical limitations, requires careful observation of flame length vs flame height. It is also important to identify whether the observation is for head, flank, or back of the fire.

Flame Length: The distance measured from the average flame tip to the middle of the active flaming zone at the base of the fire. It is measured on a slant when the flames are tilted due to effects of wind and slope.

Flame Height: The average height of flames as measured vertically, up and down.  It is estimated by comparing the flame to a nearby object of known height. Flame height is needed to estimate spot distance from a burning pile.

Flame Dimensions

Rate of Spread Estimator

From the Interagency Wildland Fire Module Field Guide


Fire Behavior Observation Reports

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