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Rapid Fire Regime Condition Class Assessment Process

Published Aug 18, 2010

Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) is an index used for allocation of fire funding and resources prioritization of fuels and restoration treatments, and evaluation of the success and failures of historical wildfire management activity. A rapid mid-scale process provides spatial fire regime condition class data at resolutions appropriate for multi-area planning, assessment of potential long-term effects of alternative conservation strategies, prioritization of projects, development of fire management plas, and revision and amendment of agency forest and resource land management plans.

The Rapid FRCC Assessment process was developed to directly address key priorities for the Forest Service, DOI and TNC, including those for forest and rangeland health, the National Fire Plan, the Cohesive Implementation Strategy, and biodiversity conservation. More specifically, the rapid assessment process was designed to:

  • Assess fuel and vegetation-fuel conditions across public and private lands.
  • Prioritize hazardous fuels reduction across public and private lands where the negative effects of wildland fire to communities, ecosystems and biodiversity health are greatest.
  • Provide a framework for development of biodiversity conservation strategies.
  • Restore healthy, diverse and resilient ecological systems to minimize uncharacteristically severe fires on a priority watershed basis through long-term restoration.
  • Promote the development and use of the best available science.
  • Monitor projects and facilitate multi-party adaptive implementation.

For the prototype area, we obtained current GAP mid-scale resolution vegetation cover and Land Use/Land Cover data for New Mexico and cross-walked them with data from the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s FMI. Classification of GAP and Land Use/Land Cover types by PNVTS allowed for refinement and cross-checking of PNVT data to 30-square-meter resolution.

The Result

This Rapid FRCC Assessment process can provide critical ecological data for use in prioritization of fire use, fuel restoration and maintenance projects, development of multi-agency fire management plans, development of conservation area strategies, tracking success of restoration strategies, and revision and amendment of forest and resource land management plans. Specifically, this assessment process can:

  1. Provide a mid-scale, intermediate intensity assessment of fire regime conditions.
  2. Provide interim data that can be used for national or regional prioritization and planning.
  3. Provide input to fine-scale, high-accuracy, longer-term fire regime assessment projects.
  4. Integrate existing ecological spatial data and expert input across all ownerships.


Shlisky, A. J, and W. J. Hann, Regime Change, Wildfire, Mar 1, 2004, retreived July 27, 2006 from

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Demonstration Project: Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) Mapping at Mount Grant, Hawthorne Army Depot (PDF, 1.2 mb)