FIREMON consists of four main components. First, the Integrated Sampling Strategy leads the fire manager through text, guides and keys to suggest the appropriate sampling approach (relevé or statistical), sampling intensity (detailed, alternative or simple) and sampling methods based on project funding and objectives. Second, FIREMON includes a number of sampling methods allowing the fire manager to assess many ecosystem attributes in order to gauge the effectiveness of treatments. The sampling methods provide data for the following components: plot description, trees, down woody debris, fire severity, fire behavior and vegetation - cover, frequency and density. Third, data is stored in the Microsoft Access-based FIREMON database. Data entry forms look like field forms and dropdown lists limit data entry errors. Plot data can be summarized using built-in queries. Lastly, the FIREMON Analysis Tools package can summarize data across a number of plots by any stratification and, assuming the data was collected appropriately, allows statistical comparison of re-measured plots using Dunnett’s t-test. Text and graphical reports can be imported into documents using cut-and-paste commands.
While FIREMON can assist the manager in accomplishing many tasks it is important to note that the package does not do everything. It is not a corporate database - we will not be collecting and storing data. This is the duty of each monitoring lead. FIREMON does not have all data collection methods. Conspicuously absent are water and air quality methods, however these can be added at a later date if standardized sampling is developed. The statistical output in FIREMON is limited. Users can output comma-delimited files for use in other statistical packages if necessary.
FIREMON has been extensively reviewed in the field – across a number of ecosystems – and by station statisticians to ensure a useful, tested product. Final modifications are currently underway and we foresee its release by September 1, 2003.