UNIT XI--FIRE BEHAVIOR PREDICTIONS
In this final unit, you will acquire the tools necessary to make basic predictions of fire behavior
from the environmental assessments and input data described in earlier units. Please note the
instructions to students on page 1 are somewhat different from previous units. Here you are
required to use the Fire Behavior Field Guide with the workbook. A small calculator is desirable,
but not necessary, for the calculations.
The unit objectives on which you will be tested at the end of this unit are on page 2. Please read
these objectives; then return to this text.
The materials in this unit may appear to be highly technical and over-whelming upon first
inspection. This should not be the case, since the system presented is relatively simple, and we
will take you through it slowly, step by step. The job aids in the field guide are designed to make
your assignments as easy as possible. You should have little trouble meeting the unit and course
This unit will be confined primarily to initial attack fire problems. The predictions system can be
applied to larger wildfires; however, the greater variety of fire environmental factors and input
values on these fires complicates the process. We'll leave those calculations to the Fire Behavior
Officer or the Plans Chief, both of whom have had much more intensive training and experience.
What is involved in the predictions system? Page 3 breaks the job of performing a fire behavior
analysis into four phases. In the earlier units, you learned to gather and assess fire environmental
data using forecasts, photos, local observations, descriptions, and maps. Then you were required
to determine principal inputs using tables, formulas, keys, and descriptions. This was phase two.
Unit X jumped ahead to phase four, making fire behavior assessments using input and output
data. This was done to give you a greater appreciation for making the calculations before
actually doing them. You may never be required to do calculations on the job; however, you will
be aware of their value and how to use them in fire suppression and other fire management
Phase three will be covered in this unit. Here you will calculate principal outputs for fire
behavior using a worksheet, tables, and other processing aids.
You should note that the field guide contains all of the tables, formulas, keys, procedures, and
other aids as introduced in the units for performing phases 2, 3, and 4. It is designed to give you
a quick and easy reference for Unit XI, the final exam, and for future field use. Please take a few
moments to study the diagram on page 3 of the workbook; then inspect the field guide. Notice
how the field guide is organized into sections to help you in the various phases. When you have
finished, return to the text.
Please turn to page 4. We will be dealing with the fire behavior predictions model developed at