LANDFIRE fuel data were originally developed from coarse-scale existing vegetation type, existing vegetation cover, existing vegetation height, and biophysical setting layers. Fire and fuel specialists from across the country provided input to the original LANDFIRE National (LF_1.0.0) fuel layers to help calibrate fuel characteristics on a more localized scale. The LANDFIRE Total Fuel Change Tool (ToFu∆) was developed from this calibration process.
Vegetation is subject to constant change – and fuels are therefore also dynamic, necessitating a systematic method for reflecting changes spatially so that fire behavior can be accurately accessed. ToFuΔ allows local experts to quickly produce maps that spatially display any proposed fuel characteristics changes.
ToFu∆ works through a Microsoft Access database to produce spatial results in ArcMap based on rule sets devised by the user that take into account the existing vegetation type (EVT), existing vegetation cover (EVC), existing vegetation height (EVH), and biophysical setting (BpS) from the LANDFIRE grid data. There are also options within ToFu∆ to add discrete variables in grid format through use of the wildcard option and for subdividing specific areas for different fuel characteristic assignments through the BpS grid.
The ToFu∆ user determines the size of the area for assessment by defining a Management Unit, or “MU.” User-defined rule sets made up of EVT, EVC, EVH, and BpS layers, as well as any wildcard selections, are used to change or refine fuel characteristics within the MU. Once these changes have been made to the fuel characteristics, new grids are created for fire behavior analysis or planning. These grids represent the most common ToFu∆ output.
ToFuΔ is currently under development and will continue to be updated in the future. The current beta version (0.12), released in March 2011, is compatible with Windows 7 and will be the last release until the fall of 2011.