• WildfiresLack of Preparation Hampers Protection against Bushfires

    As Australia confronts devastating bushfire conditions, people across the nation are doing all they can to ensure the safety of their homes, property and loved ones. But while many individuals are responding well to bushfire risks, a lack of preparation on the community level could be hampering their efforts, according to a new research.

  • WildfiresData Science Could Help Californians Battle Future Wildfires

    By David Wild

    A major wildfire spread through Colorado, and I spent long hours locating shelters, identifying evacuation routes and piecing together satellite imagery. As the Fourmile Canyon Fire devastated areas to the west of Boulder, ultimately destroying 169 homes and causing $217 million in damage, my biggest concerns were ensuring that people could safely evacuate and first responders had the best chance of keeping the fire at bay. The oddest thing about that 7 September 2010? I spent it sitting comfortably in my home in Bloomington, Indiana, a thousand miles away from the action.

  • PerspectiveNevada Leaders Trying to Stay Ahead of Wildfire Destruction

    In 2016, a little over 265,000 acres in Nevada burned from wildfires. In 2017, around 1.3 million acres burned, and in 2018 a little over a million acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Nevada’s political leadership is continuing to develop measures to combat the increasing threats posed by wildfires across American West and in the Silver State.

  • Perspective: WildfiresA Year after Paradise Fire, California Lawmakers Hope to Keep History from Repeating

    Last year’s Camp Fire in California offered a scenario officials hadn’t planned for: thousands of residents fleeing at the same time from a town overcome by wildfire — and with few ways to get out. Many others perished in their cars, killed in the blaze that ultimately took 85 lives. Taryn Luna writes that a dire need for better evacuation routes was just one hard lesson of the Camp fire, a tragedy that prompted California’s elected officials to try to prevent history from repeating itself.

  • FireproofingWhole-House Fire Blanket Protects Buildings from Short Wildfires

    Wrapping a building in a fire-protective blanket is a viable way of protecting it against wildfires, finds the first study to scientifically assesses this method of defense. Existing blanket technology can protect an isolated building from a short wildfire attack, but technological advancements are needed for severe fire situations.

  • WildfiresClimate Change Is Driving Many California Wildfires

    Against a backdrop of long-term rises in temperature in recent decades, California has seen ever higher spikes in seasonal wildfires, and, in the last two years, a string of disastrous, record-setting blazes. This has led scientists, politicians and media to ponder: what role might warming climate be playing here?

  • WildfiresWhat to Expect from Wildfire Season This Year and in the Future

    The new normal for Western wildfires is abnormal, with increasingly bigger and more destructive blazes. Understanding the risks can help communities avert disaster. Throughout Western North America, millions of people live in high-risk wildfire zones thanks to increasingly dry, hot summers and abundant organic fuel in nearby wildlands.

  • WildfiresPlanned burns can reduce wildfire risks, but expanding use of ‘good fire’ isn’t easy

    By Courtney Schultz, Cassandra Moseley, and Heidi Huber-Stearns

    Prescribed burns can decrease the potential for some of the large, severe fires that have affected western states in recent years. As scholars of U.S. forest policy, collaborative environmental management and social-ecological systems, we see them as a management tool that deserves much wider attention.

  • ResilienceUsing data utilization to augment community resilience, disaster response

    A civil engineering who researches resilience against extreme events and natural hazards is responding to lessons learned from California’s deadly Camp Fire by outlining how to utilize the power of data to improve disaster response and minimize economic loss and human harm in similar events.

  • EscapesDeveloping concepts for escape respirator

    DHS S&T announced the Escape Respirator Challenge, a $250,000 prize competition that seeks new concepts for an escape respirator solution. This challenge invites the innovation community to submit relevant, useable, effective, and feasible concepts that protects the user against aerosolized chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) hazards and provides oxygen.

  • Climate & national securityNational security in the Fourth National Climate Assessment

    NCA4 vol. 2: “Climate change presents added risks to interconnected systems that are already exposed to a range of stressors such as aging and deteriorating infrastructure, land-use changes, and population growth. Extreme weather and climate-related impacts on one system can result in increased risks or failures in other critical systems, including water resources, food production and distribution, energy and transportation, public health, international trade, and national security. The full extent of climate change risks to interconnected systems, many of which span regional and national boundaries, is often greater than the sum of risks to individual sectors.”

  • Water securityIsraeli device that extracts water from the air helps California firefighters quench thirst

    By Abigail Klein Leichman

    An emergency response vehicle (ERV) carrying an innovative Israeli machine that pulls drinking water out of ambient air is on its way to California to provide hydration to police and firefighters dealing with the aftermath of two massive wildfires that have taken at least eighty-seven lives.

  • WildfiresClimate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California

    By Jonathan Overpeck

    There are multiple reasons why wildfires are getting more severe and destructive, but climate change tops the list, notwithstanding claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. According to the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on 23 November, higher temperatures and earlier snowmelt are extending the fire season in western states. By 2050, according to the report, the area that burns yearly in the West could be two to six times larger than today. For climate scientists like me, there’s no longer any serious doubt that human activity – primarily burning fossil fuels – is causing the atmosphere to warm relentlessly. Climate change is driving a rapid increase in wildfire risk that has become a national problem. At the same time, healthy forests have become essential for the many valuable benefits they provide the nation and its people. Neither more effective forest management, nor curbing climate change alone will solve the growing wildfire problem, but together they can.

  • ResilienceStronger buildings could delay wildfire destruction, but not stop it

    Low humidity and strong winds in California mean that this month’s wildfires could strike again. Unfortunately, better building materials and planning can only offer so much protection, says an engineering expert.

  • California firesThe bitter lesson of the Californian fires

    By David Bowman

    California is burning, again. Dozens of peoples have been killed and thousands of buildings destroyed in several fires, the most destructive in the state’s history. The California fires are just the most recent in a series of major wildfires, including fires in Greece in July this year that killed 99 people, Portugal and Chile in 2017, and Australia. Why do wildfires seem to be escalating? Despite president Donald Trump’s tweet that the California fires were caused by “gross mismanagement” of forests, the answer is more complex, nuanced, and alarming.