U.S. Forest Service Fire Research

Ranger's Clerk taking weather readings to determine fire dangers, Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota, 1968 (R9_518848). Chuck Wellner measures charges with the Blinkometer to determine log moisture content (USFS Collection, Gisborne).

Fire research has been a part of the Forest Service's work since the very early years. Gifford Pinchot, during his first year as chief, authorized studying the history of forest fires to better understand the damaging effects. Pinchot's staff cataloged five thousand fires dating back to 1754 in the study. Information from this study was then used to determine departmental budgets within the Forest Service. Fire research has remained a focus of the agency throughout history, and has evolved from Pinchot's initial study into highly sophisticated analyses of fuel, combustion, and weather.

Selected Resources:

Fire Research Instruments

Harry T. Gisborne

Inventory of the National Fire Danger Rating System Collection, 1911 - 2004

Browse historic images from the following FHS online photo galleries:
Fire Danger Meters
Fire Weather - Measurement

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Updated: 10/25/2013