The Community Fire Behavior Model

Simulating the Evolution of Wildland Fires

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National Interagency Fire
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Fire perimeters comparison

(a) A comparison of the fire perimeters after simulating the Cameron Peak fire after 27 hours of simulation. The fire perimeters of the WRF-Fire and standalone fire behavior models are represented by blue and orange lines, respectively. Time series of (b) mean wind at the fire front and the (c) cumulative burned pixels for the same simulations. The atmospheric models run on a 3 km grid spacing, while the fire behavior is simulated on a 100 m grid to better represent the complex terrain and the impact of heterogeneous fuels (as described in Anderson, 1982) on the fire. Despite the use of different atmospheric models, the fire perimeters are similar.


We are in the process of building the Community Fire Behavior Model. The model simulates the evolution of wildland fires. The initial version of the model is based on the WRF-Fire modules. The model requires the definition of a grid with characterization of the fuels and elevation to simulate the fire evolution. It can be run offline, reading external atmospheric data from WRF. This has allowed us comparative testing with WRF-Fire to ensure a proper implementation of the model. In addition, the model can be run online, coupled with an atmospheric component to account for fire-atmosphere interactions.

In order to couple it to atmospheric models, the Community Fire Behavior Model makes use of the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) libraries. To this end, the fire model is implemented in a National Unified Operational Prediction Capability (NUOPC) as an interface to connect with other earth system models. The Community Fire Behavior Model NUOPC is being coupled to the Unified Forecasting System (UFS).

The source code of the Community Fire Behavior Model is in a Github repository (github repository).


The documentation to run the Community Fire behavior Model will be available soon.

UFS simplified representation

Simplified representation of the UFS to illustrate the coupling with the Community Fire Behavior Model NUOPC.

UFS Implementation

We are in the process of coupling the Community Fire Behavior Model to the Unified Forecasting System (UFS). This requires coupling the fire model to the UFS-Atmosphere in order to account for fire-atmospheric feedbacks. The UFS-Atmosphere passess the winds and other near surface variables that are used to propagate the fires. In turn, the fire model feedback heat and moisture fluxes as a result of the combustion process. Smoke is also released and advected and diffused by UFS as a tracer.


Please direct questions/comments about this page to:

Pedro Jimenez Munoz

Proj Scientist III