Method for evaluating the heat release rate and dynamic smoke generation rate of samples. Samples are exposed to controlled irradiances with an external igniter in a horizontal orientation. The heat release rate is determined by measuring the oxygen consumption derived from the oxygen concentration and flow rate in the combustion product stream. The time to ignition (sustained flaming) is also measured in this test. The dynamic smoke generation rate is calculated from the measurement of the attenuation of a laser light beam by the combustion product stream. The smoke coverage is recorded for the entire test, regardless of whether the sample is burning or not.