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Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) for Southeast Asia

Introduction

In 1997/98, extensive forest fire in one of the ASEAN country caused widespread haze in the SEA region. This significantly affected the tourism industries, the health of the population and the environment. The total loss was estimated to be US$9 billion. In response to this environmental disaster, the SEA Environment Ministers initiated a Regional Haze Action Plan. As part of this Action Plan, a monitoring and warning system for forest/vegetation fires need to be developed and implemented. Adopted from the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System, the SEA Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS) was subsequently developed and implemented.

Initially the SEA Fire Danger Rating was produced daily by the Canadian Forest Service (CFS). Starting from the middle of September 2003, this responsibility is handed over to the Malaysian Meteorological Service (MMS). Since then, MMS has been producing SEA Fire Danger Rating products on a daily basis.

Please click on the icon or text to view the South East Asian latest map for each individual index:


FFMC


DMC


DC


ISI


BUI


FWI


fdrs (google earth)


What Is FDRS ?

The FDRS is a system that monitors forest/vegetation fires risk and supplies information that assists in fire management. The products of FDRS can be used to predict fire behaviour and can be used as a guide to policy-makers in developing actions to protect life, property and the environment.

The meteorological variables used (Temperature, Relative Humidity, Rainfall, Wind Speed) are those measured at meteorological stations throughout the Southeast Asia region that are made available on the Global Telecommunication System (GTS). Spatial Analysis is carried out using the ArcView software.

Interpretation

a) Fine Fuel Moisture Code (FFMC)

The FFMC values shown on the map are numerical ratings of the moisture content of litter and other cured fine fuels. The FFMC indicates the relative ease of ignition and flammability of fine fuels. Thus, the FFMC is used as an indicator of ignition potential or the potential for fires to start and spread in the area. (Fine Fuels: Slash fuels, grassland, lalang, bushes etc).

For the interpretation of the map, please refer to the table below :-

Class-Ignition Potential Interpretation
Low Low probability of fire starts.
Medium Moderate probability of fire starts in areas of local dryness.
High Grass fuels becoming easily ignitable. Higher probability of fire starts.
Extreme Grass fuels highly flammable. Very high probability of fire starts.

b) DUFF Moisture Code (DMC)

The DMC values shown on the map are numerical ratings of the average moisture content of a loosely compacted surface organic layers (duff). The code indicates fuel consumption of surface organic layer with low bulk density and medium-sized woody material.

Please refer to the scale in the table below for interpretation of the DMC maps:

Class-Ignition Potential Interpretation
Low

Top layers of organic soil are wet.

Medium Top layers of organic soil are moist.
High Top layers of organic soil becoming dry.
Extreme Top layers of organic soil are dry.

c) Drought Code (DC)

The DC values shown on the map are indicative values of the moisture content of a deep layer of compact organic matter. Peat soil is an example of deep compact organic soil. The DC is used to indicate the potential for fire to smoulder in peat which is the primary cause of smoke and haze in Southeast Asia. It can also be used as an indicator of difficulty in extinguishing deep burning peat fires as well as an early warning indicator of serious haze events.

For the interpretation of the map, please refer to the table below :-

Class-Smoke Potential Interpretation
Low Typical wet-season conditions and severe haze periods are unlikely. More than 30 dry days until DC reaches threshold at which point severe haze is highly likely.
Medium Normal mid dry-season conditions. Between 15 and 30 dry days until DC reaches threshold. Burning should be regulated and monitored as usual.
High Normal dry season peak conditions. Between 5 and 15 dry days until DC reaches threshold. All burning in peatlands should be restricted. Weather forecast and seasonal rainfall assessments should be monitored closely for signs of an extended dry season.
Extreme Approaching disaster-level drought conditions. Less than 5 dry days until DC reaches threshold, at which point severe haze is highly likely. Complete burning restriction should be enforced.

d) Initial Spread Index (ISI)

The ISI is an indicator of the head fire indicator, rate of fire spread, and for difficulty of control in grasslands. It is a combination of the effects of the wind speed and FFMC.

For the interpretation of the map, please refer to the table below :-

Class-Difficulty of Control Interpretation
Low

Fires will be self-extinguishing.

Medium Fire can be easily suppressed with hand tools.
High Most fire can be successfully controlled using power pumps and hose.
Extreme Some fires will be difficult to control.

Low = 0 - 1 Moderate = 2 - 3 High = 4 - 5 Extreme >5

e) Fire Weather Index (FWI)

The FWI values shown on the map are numerical ratings of fire intensity and general fire danger across the landscape that combine the ISI and BUI. This index is often used to indicate the difficulty of fire control based on the head fire intensity and fire fighting capability.

For the interpretation of the map, please refer to the table below :-

Class-Difficulty of Control Interpretation
Low

Low fire intensity. Fire will spread slowly or be self-extinguishing. Grassland fires can be successfully controlled using hand tools.

Medium Moderate fire intensity in grass. Hand tools will be effective along the fire’s flanks, but water under pressure (pumps, hose) maybe required to suppress the head fire in grasslands.
High High fire intensity in grass. Direct attack at the fire’s head will require water under pressure, and mechanized equipment may be required to build control lines. (e.g: bulldozer)
Extreme Very high fire intensity in grass. Fire control will require construction of control lines by mechanized equipment and water under pressure. Indirect attack by back-burning between control lines and the fire may be required.

Low = 0 - 1 Moderate = 2 - 6 High = 7 - 13 Extreme >13


Acknowledgement

The generation of SEA FDRS products are made possible through the cooperation and agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Canadian Forest Service (CFS)

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