The Fire Model Intercomparison Project (FireMIP) is dedicated to strengthening the development of global fire models through a systematic comparison of current approaches and providing robust insights on global fire dynamics and impacts using an ensemble of coupled fire-vegetation models.

At the core of the project are standardized model simulations of modelling groups from all over the world and annual meetings where in-depth discussions, not only between modelers but also with experts in atmospheric chemistry, fire ecology, and groups generating observational datasets, are the drive and basis to refine the project goals. FireMIP is an international, unfunded initiative, started in the year 2014 and initially coordinated by Almut Arneth and Stijn Hantson.

Currently the group is performing revised historical simulations to revisit the performance of fire models over the historical period and extend analysis on the N-cycle-fire interactions, fire behaviour and impact, and the representation of extreme fires.

We are now moving towards a second phase where FireMIP simulations will be incorporated within the ISIMIP framework. This will facilitate the definition of protocols, preparation of input data, but also the data analysis, model comparison and data distribution. During this second phase we are planning to simulate fire activity under a set of the future climate and socio-economic conditions. The protocol for the future simulations is currently under development.


Fire is a crucial Earth system process that impacts vegetation distribution and structure, carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems and atmospheric composition. These impacts have consequences for biodiversity, ecosystem services, human health and climate. Unusually high and intense levels of fire activity have recently been seen across the globe from the Australia to the Amazon rainforest to the Arctic circle, often with catastrophic consequences for humans and ecosystems. These unusual fire activities show the need of fire models to provide insights on future changes and to support the adaptation to changes in fire regimes due to global change.

The main drivers of fire regimes on the global scale are climate, vegetation and humans, which are simulated in coupled fire-vegetation models including critical feedbacks between fire and vegetation. Such models are invaluable tools for understanding the dynamics of present and past fire regimes and for projecting changes in the future. These participating models vary from empirical models scaling functions calibrated using global satellite data to process-based models that separate fire ignition, rate of fire spread, and duration based on field and laboratory measurements.

Previous work

The FireMIP consortium provided a review on the status and the challenges of global fire modelling and defined the aims of the project (Hantson et al., 2016). A first phase of model comparison started with a documentation of participating models and the protocol for a set of simulations defined in Rabin et al. (2017). Fire modelling groups around the world contributed simulations for the historical period (1700-2013), complemented with sensitivity simulations to quantify the effect of the main drivers on fire and of fire itself on ecosystems. The systematic comparison of current approaches is achieved using a selection of benchmarking and evaluation methodologies and integration with a wide range of observational datasets. For an overview of some main outcomes and publications, see the respective pages and folders.


Hantson S, Kelley DI, Arneth A, Harrison SP, Archibald S, Bachelet D, Forrest M, Hickler T, Lasslop G, Li F, Mangeon S, Melton JR, Nieradzik L, Rabin SS, Prentice IC, Sheehan T, Sitch S, Teckentrup L, Voulgarakis A, Yue C. 2020. Quantitative assessment of fire and vegetation properties in historical simulations with fire-enabled vegetation models from the Fire Model Intercomparison Project. Geoscientific Model Development Discussions 2020: 1–25 doi: 10.5194/gmd-2019-261.

Lasslop G, Hantson S, Harrison SP, Bachelet D, Burton C, Forkel M, Forrest M, Li F, Melton JR, Yue C, Archibald S, Scheiter S, Arneth A, Hickler T, Sitch S. 2020. Global ecosystems and fire: multi‐model assessment of fire‐induced tree cover and carbon storage reduction. Global Change Biology : early view, doi: 10.1111/gcb.15160.

Teckentrup L, Harrison SP, Hantson S, Heil A, Melton JR, Forrest M, Li F, Yue C, Arneth A, Hickler T, Sitch S, Lasslop G. 2019. Response of simulated burned area to historical changes in environmental and anthropogenic factors: a comparison of seven fire models. Biogeosciences 16: 3883–3910 doi:

Li F, Val Martin M, Andreae MO, Arneth A, Hantson S, Kaiser JW, Lasslop G, Yue C, Bachelet D, Forrest M, Kluzek E, Liu X, Mangeon S, Melton JR, Ward DS, Darmenov A, Hickler T, Ichoku C, Magi BI, Sitch S, Werf GR van der, Wiedinmyer C, Rabin SS. 2019. Historical (1700–2012) global multi-model estimates of the fire emissions from the Fire Modeling Intercomparison Project (FireMIP). Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 19: 12545–12567 doi:

Forkel M, Andela N, Harrison SP, Lasslop G, Marle M van, Chuvieco E, Dorigo W, Forrest M, Hantson S, Heil A, Li F, Melton J, Sitch S, Yue C, Arneth A. 2019. Emergent relationships with respect to burned area in global satellite observations and fire-enabled vegetation models. Biogeosciences 16: 57–76 doi:

Marle MJE van, Kloster S, Magi BI, Marlon JR, Daniau A-L, Field RD, Arneth A, Forrest M, Hantson S, Kehrwald NM, Knorr W, Lasslop G, Li F, Mangeon S, Yue C, Kaiser JW, Werf GR van der. 2017. Historic global biomass burning emissions for CMIP6 (BB4CMIP) based on merging satellite observations with proxies and fire models (1750–2015). Geoscientific Model Development 10: 3329–3357 doi:

Andela N, Morton DC, Giglio L, Chen Y, Werf GR van der, Kasibhatla PS, DeFries RS, Collatz GJ, Hantson S, Kloster S, Bachelet D, Forrest M, Lasslop G, Li F, Mangeon S, Melton JR, Yue C, Randerson JT. 2017. A human-driven decline in global burned area. Science 356: 1356–1362 doi: 10.1126/science.aal4108.

Rabin SS, Melton JR, Lasslop G, Bachelet D, Forrest M, Hantson S, Kaplan JO, Li F, Mangeon S, Ward DS, Yue C, Arora VK, Hickler T, Kloster S, Knorr W, Nieradzik L, Spessa A, Folberth GA, Sheehan T, Voulgarakis A, Kelley DI, Prentice IC, Sitch S, Harrison S, Arneth A. 2017. The Fire Modeling Intercomparison Project (FireMIP), phase 1: experimental and analytical protocols with detailed model descriptions. Geosci. Model Dev. 10: 1175–1197 doi: 10.5194/gmd-10-1175-2017.

Hantson S, Arneth A, Harrison SP, Kelley DI, Prentice IC, Rabin SS, Archibald S, Mouillot F, Arnold SR, Artaxo P, Bachelet D, Ciais P, Forrest M, Friedlingstein P, Hickler T, Kaplan JO, Kloster S, Knorr W, Lasslop G, Li F, Mangeon S, Melton JR, Meyn A, Sitch S, Spessa A, van der Werf GR, Voulgarakis A, Yue C. 2016. The status and challenge of global fire modelling. Biogeosciences 13: 3359–3375 doi: 10.5194/bg-13-3359-2016.