Burning Index

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Burning Index (BI) is a number used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to describe the potential amount of effort needed to contain a single fire in a particular fuel type within a rating area. The National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) uses a modified version of Bryam's equation for flame length - based on the Spread Component (SC) and the available energy (ERC) - to calculate flame length from which the Burning Index is computed.[1]

The equation for flame length is listed below:[1]


j is a scaling factor,
SC is the spread component,
and ERC is the Energy Release Component.

Consequently, the equation for the Burning Index is:[1]

where is the Burning Index scaling factor of (10/ft). Therefore, dividing the Burning Index by 10 produces a reasonable estimate of the flame length at the head of a fire. A unique Burning Index (BI) table is required for each fuel model.[1]