The European Fuel Knowledge Platform

A standard library for fuel descriptions and a standard data source for fuel and fire modellers

There is a wide diversity of methods used for describing and classifying fuels in Europe. An understanding of the distribution and structure of fuels is essential for predicting the behaviour of prescribed fire and wildfire, both from the point of view of the practitioner and the research scientist developing sophisticated computer models for fire behaviour prediction. Colin Legg and Vladimir Krivtsov from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and Boris Pezzatti from WSL in Switzerland - with contributions of many partners from the Fire Paradox project - have developed a Fuel Knowledge Platform. This system provides a standard framework for organizing fuel descriptions that provide an interface between the complexities of wildland fuel data and the requirements of users of fire behaviour models.

Legg Colin
Colin Legg
Senior Lecturer
The University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences

Who will be interested in this product and why?

This product is of potential interest to managers and research scientists who are describing fuels or make management decisions based on the accumulation of fuels in different vegetation types. It will also be used by those developing and using models of fire behaviour.

What are the innovative features?

The object-orientated approach to database management provides a new and powerful way to store and analyse complex data and this is the first time that it has been applied in the fire management context.

How does it serve the European cause and promotes the philosophy of Fire Paradox?

This product is particularly important in the European context because of the diversity of methods that have traditionally been used for describing fuels in the different countries. The object-orientated database provides a common framework that can potentially unify these diverse data sources to provide a coherent body of knowledge that will be of value across the different traditions of fire management.


Leader Contact

General objectives

The Fuel Knowledge Platform has a Web interface that provides access to a range of information about European wildland fuels, including a fuel database and a Wiki (containing concepts, definitions, metadata). This interfaces with the Fuel Editor and the Fire Intuition Information Management Platform. The objectives are to enable researchers, forest managers and educational institutes to access information on the distribution and structure of fuels for a range of European vegetation types. This data management system can be configured to accept a wide range of data types collected by a variety of methods and over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. It can handle missing data intelligently and provide inputs for the next generation of fire models. The Wiki also provides a forum in which consensus on the definition (and list of alternative definitions) of terms relating to fuel description and standard techniques of measurement can be developed.

Innovative aspects

The database is object-orientated in which the class structure mirrors the physical structure of fuels and permits logical querying. The Fuel Knowledge Platform has the potential to collect and store data and to process the information using inbuilt statistical routines. The system will be improved as more information is added to the data base.

Major results

The outputs include a FuelWeb as a web-based object-orientated database integrated within the Fire Intuition package. FuelWeb interfaces with the Fuel Manager software. FuelSwing is a stand-alone version of the object-orientated database that runs on a local computer and can be used for development work or for editing of local data sets. Both databases have been configured for storing and processing plot inventory data, ‘cube’ data giving information on the three-dimensional structure of fuels and allometric data relating the loading of different fuel components to shrub height and stem attributes. The FuelWiki provides a glossary of terms used in fuel descriptions and methods of assessment with a forum for discussion.

The European Fuel Knowledge Platform Screenshot







The European Fuel Knowledge Platform - http//www.fireparadox.org

Online Multimedia Plateform : Prototype