Forestry and Wildfire Glossaries of Terms

Following is an alphabetical list of terms used by the Colorado State Forest Service and other forestry organizations. Also included are links to the Society of American Foresters' Dictionary of Forestry, a CSFS Kids' Glossary and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group's Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology.

Glosssaries of Terms

Forestry | Wildfire

Forestry Terminology

Society of American Foresters (SAF) – Dictionary of Forestry

This dictionary is intended to help students, professionals and the public — all those interested in the science, management, and conservation of forests — communicate technically with precision, clarity, and consistency.

CSFS Kids' Glossary

Other CSFS Forestry Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Class A Roof: Effective against severe fire test exposures, as classified by the Universal Building Code (UBC). Under such exposures, roof coverings of this class are not readily flammable, afford a fairly high degree of fire protection to the roof deck, do not slip from position, and are not expected to produce flying brands.

Class B Roof: Effective against moderate fire test exposures, as classified by the Universal Building Code (UBC). Under such exposures, roof coverings of this class are not readily flammable, afford a moderate degree of fire protection to the roof deck, do not slip from position, and are not expected to produce flying brands.

Class C Roof: Effective against light fire test exposure, as classified by the Universal Building Code (UBC). Under such exposures, roof coverings of this class are not readily flammable, afford a measurable degree of fire protection to the roof deck, do not slip from position, and are not expected to produce flying brands.

Colorado Champion Tree: The largest known tree of its species in the state. Trees are ranked by a point system based on three measurements: trunk circumference in inches at 4.5 feet above the ground, tree height in feet and the average crown spread in feet.

Defensible Space: An area within the perimeter of a parcel, development, neighborhood or community where basic wildland fire protection practices and measures are implemented, providing the key point of defense from an approaching wildfire or defense against encroaching wildfires or escaping structure fires.

The perimeter as used herein is the area encompassing the parcel or parcels proposed for construction and/or development, excluding the physical structure itself.

The area is characterized by the establishment and maintenance of emergency vehicle access, emergency water reserves, street names and building identification, and fuel modification measures.

In simplest terms, it is adequate space between structures and flammable vegetation which allows firefighters a safe working area from which they can attack an oncoming wildfire. Defensible space is the best element of fire protection for individual property owners.

Felling: The cutting down of trees.

Fire Dependent: Requiring one or more fires of varying frequency, timing, severity and size in order to achieve optimal conditions for population survival or growth.

Fire Hazard Mitigation: Various methods by which existing fire hazards can be reduced in a certain area, such as fuel breaks, non-combustible roofing, spark arresters, etc.

Fire Management: The activities concerned with the protection of people, property, and forest areas from wildfire and the use of prescribed burning for the attainment of forest management and other land use objectives, all conducted in a manner that considers environmental, social and economic criteria.

Fire Suppression: All activities concerned with controlling and extinguishing a fire following its detection.

Forest Fire: Any wildfire or prescribed burn that is burning in forest, grass, alpine or tundra vegetation types.

Forest Type: A group of forested areas or stands of similar composition (species, age, height and stocking) which differentiates it from other such groups.

Fuel: Any living or dead material that will burn.

Fuel Management: The act or practice of controlling flammability and reducing resistance to control of wildland fuels through mechanical, chemical, biological or manual means, or by fire in support of land management objectives.

Ladder Fuels: Fuels that provide vertical continuity between the surface fuels and crown fuels in a forest stand, thus contributing to crown fires.

Maximum Density: The maximum allowable stand density above which stands must be spaced to a target density of well-spaced, acceptable stems to achieve free-growing status.

Pitch Tubes: A tubular mass of resin that forms on bark surface at bark-beetle entrance holes.

USDAFS: United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service, what is commonly known as just "The Forest Service."

Wildfire Terminology

National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) – Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology

This glossary provides the wildland fire and fire use communities a single source for wildland fire, prescribed fire, fire use and incident management terminology commonly used by the NWCG and its subgroups.