Modeling regional-scale wildland fire emissions with the Wildland Fire Emissions Information System

Nancy H.F. French, Donald McKenzie, Tyler Erickson, Benjamin Koziol, Michael Billmire, K. Arthur Endsley, Naomi K. Yager Scheinerman, Liza Jenkins, Mary Ellen Miller, Roger Ottmar, Susan Prichard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


As carbon modeling tools become more comprehensive, spatial data are needed to improve quantitative maps of carbon emissions from fire. The Wildland Fire Emissions Information System (WFEIS) provides mapped estimates of carbon emissions from historical forest fires in the United States through a web browser. WFEIS improves access to data and provides a consistent approach to estimating emissions at landscape, regional, and continental scales. The system taps into data and tools developed by the U.S. Forest Service to describe fuels, fuel loadings, and fuel consumption and merges information from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration on fire location and timing. Currently, WFEIS provides web access to Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) burned area for North America and U.S. fire-perimeter maps from the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity products from the USGS, overlays them on 1-km fuel maps for the United States, and calculates fuel consumption and emissions with an open-source version of the Consume model. Mapped fuel moisture is derived from daily meteorological data from remote automated weather stations. In addition to tabular output results, WFEIS produces multiple vector and raster formats. This paper provides an overview of the WFEIS system, including the web-based system functionality and datasets used for emissions estimates. WFEIS operates on the web and is built using open-source software components that work with open international standards such as keyhole markup language (KML). Examples of emissions outputs from WFEIS are presented showing that the system provides results that vary widely across the many ecosystems of North America and are consistent with previous emissions modeling estimates and products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalEarth Interactions
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2014


  • Biosphere–atmosphere interaction
  • Forest fires
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • North America


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