Wildland Fire Management Terminology: Remarks

Some Remarks concerning the revised FAO Wildland Fire Management Terminology
Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)

The GFMC has entered the whole glossary of the 1986 version (FAO 1986. Wildland Fire Management Terminology. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO Forestry Paper 70, 257 p.).

We have added, compared and harmonized the English base document with other major national fire management terminologies and some encyclopedias and websites,such as:

  • National Research Council Canada (1987). Glossary of Forest Fire Management Terms. Canadian Committee on Forest Fire Management. Ottawa. 91 p.
  • National Wildfire Coordination Group (1985). Smoke Management Glossary. Smoke Management Guide Produced by: Prescribed Fire and Fire Effects Working Team. Boise,Idaho. 28 p.
  • National Wildfire Coordination Group (1989). A Guide for Prescribed Fire in Southern Forests. Boise,Idaho. 56 p.
  • National Wildfire Coordination Group (1994). Introduction to Wildland fire Behavior S-190. Student Workbook. Boise, Idaho. 66 p.
  • National Wildfire Coordination Group (1996). Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology. Incident Operations Standards Working Team. Boise,Idaho. 162 p.
  • International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) 1997. ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests. ITTO Policy Development Series No.6. ITTO, Yokohama, 40 p. (J.G. Goldammer, senior author)
  • Random House Webster`s Electronic Dictionary and Thesaurus, College Edition Version 1.0, Software.
  • Society of American Foresters (1990). Glossary of Wildland Fire Management Terms Used in the United States. University of Arizona press. Tuscon, Arizona. 138 p.
  • IDNDR (former UNDRO) disaster terminology
  • NASA (1999). Fire Monitoring Glossary. Responsible NASA Officials: Chris Justice and Yoram Kaufman.
  • NASA (1999). Glossary of Terms. Atmospheric Sciences NASA Langley Research Center.
  • DELFI (1999) The DELFI vocabulary. CONCERTED ACTION Definition and Creation of a Common Knowledge Base for Forest Fires ENV4-CT98-0735.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Britannica.com; http://www.britannica.com/

Important Information for Standardization of English and non-English Terms

Recommendations for including Spanish and French terms:

Draft and not yet reviewed Spanish and French counterpart terms are available in this document only for those terms that had been already included in the 1986 version of the FAO Terminology. We found that these Spanish and French terms in some cases are either not correct or have spelling mistakes. Thus, we recommend to carefully check and review EVERY Spanish and French term.

We have corrected the existing and added the missing German terms (a voluntary contribution to the terminology project). We have used the correct way of spelling German, including the use of upper and lower cases where applicable.

The entries (terms) in English start in upper case (and according to recognized rules, words with 3 or less letters begin in lower case). We thought that this looks better. However, if there is the feeling that all terms should be written in lower case (exempt names or designations), we can change that in the final editing process.

French and Spanish terms should start in lower case exempt names etc.

Some Procedural Remarks for translating into French and Spanish (or other languages in a later stage)

At international level the use of wildland fire management terms has been developed most specifically in North America and Australia. If no counter part terms in other languages are also available, the foreign-language term are sometimes (a) adapted from English, or (b) “translated” (or explained) or even briefly described (in cases where there is no equivalent term available at all).

In the latter case such a descriptive term should be put into [brackets] such as we did in the 1986 terminology.

In the case of names, proper names, brands or designations of systems a translation should not be done. The English definition will clarify what the name or designation means. In such case we suggest to insert a standard term in [brackets]which indicates that this term is a name. For instance, in the German version we use the term [Eigenname] which in English means [proper name, or brand name].


In the case of abbreviations or acronyms we have always entered the fully spelled term and added the acronym in (brackets). In order to facilitate the identification of acronyms we have provided a list of acronyms in alphabetical order.

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