• FirefightersGroundbreaking Firefighter Tracking Technology

    In the U.S. alone, approximately 80 to 100 firefighters are lost in the line of duty each year according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. More than 50,000 are injured according to the National Fire Protection Association.  Countless others risk their lives every day to serve and protect our communities. Last month, S&T and NASA JPL successfully tested the Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Training for Emergency Responders (POINTER) technology.

  • WildfiresWildfire Risk Rising as Scientists Determine Which Conditions Beget Blazes

    As wildfires burn more often across the Western United States, researchers are working to understand how extensively blazes burn. Their investigation not only reveals that the risk of wildfire is rising, but also spells out the role moisture plays in estimating fire risk.

  • WildfiresFire Science Critical for Combating Wildfires Out West

    In 2020, wildfire activity in California and the Pacific Northwest has been extreme, with more than 45,700 wildfires raging across 8.3 million acres (as of October 15, 2020). This puts the 2020 Fire Year on pace for being the most extensive of the last decade, even outpacing the fires of 2017 and 2018. Science can help in preparing for and coping with wildfires, thus helping save lives, property and money.

  • FireAddressing Risk, Safety in Fire Containment

    As 2020 has shown, wildfire frequency, size and severity are threatening communities and natural resources across the western U.S. As a result, there is a high demand for decision-making to mitigate risk, improve firefighter safety and increase fire containment efficiency.

  • WildfiresWildfire in Northern California's Coastal Ranges on the Rise Since 1984

    High-severity wildfires in northern coastal California have been increasing by about 10 percent per decade since 1984, according to a new study. From Berryessa to Klamath Mountains, High-Severity Burns Quadrupled During Warm Drought.

  • WildfiresInsurance Markets Face Challenges in Higher Fire-Risk Areas

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, and in 2017 that number jumped to 10,800. In 2018, wildfires wrought even greater destruction, with more than 22,000 structures destroyed. Those conflagrations can devastate homeowners and bring heavy costs for the insurance industry. In a new study, RAND researchers found that while the insurance market in lower-fire-risk areas was working relatively well as of 2017, higher-fire-risk areas faced challenges.

  • WildfiresClimate Change Making Western Wildfires in U.S. Worse

    By Steve Baragona

    Wildfires have burned a record-breaking 1.25 million hectares in California as of Saturday. Washington state is enduring its second-largest area burned. A half-million people are under a fire evacuation warning or order in Oregon, one-tenth of the state’s population. The devastation is not unexpected. Climate experts have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Wildfires need dry plants to burn, and climate change is helping increase the supply.

  • WildfiresGlobal Fire Outlook Not Good News, but Mitigation Is Possible

    Wildfire is a natural process necessary to many ecosystems. But wildfires are getting worse and more damaging, and it is our fault, according to new research. The global economic and environmental damage caused by wildfire will only increase because of human-caused climate change, but we are also able to save ourselves, the researchers said.

  • Arson terrorismCaptivating Conflagration: Arson as a Terrorist Tactic

    By Stevie Kiesel

    The 2018 Camp Fire in California and the 2019 bushfires in Australia killed dozens of people, destroyed thousands of homes, and scorched millions of acres, inflicting widespread pain and steep economic costs. The most extreme terrorist groups aspire to achieve this level of death and destruction. It therefore comes as no surprise that the use of arson for terrorist purposes is not a new phenomenon. Jihadists; extremists on the far right and the far left; as well as special interest extremists, have used arson to send political messages for years.

  • First respondersGear Treated with “Forever Chemicals” Poses Risk to Firefighters

    Firefighters face occupational hazards on a daily basis. Now, new research shows they face additional risk just by gearing up. Fabric used for firefighter turnout gear tested positive for the presence of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), according to a new study.

  • WildfiresWildfires New Algorithm Predicts the Difficulty in Fighting Fire

    When facing an uncontrolled fire blazing through hundreds of hectares, many questions arise that need urgent answers: Where should we start? What place presents less difficulty? What areas are already lost? How can we prioritize management tasks? Researchers have developed an algorithm which is able to respond to these questions and has turned mathematics into a real ally for firefighting.

  • WildfiresTracking the tinderbox: Scientists Map Wildfire Fuel Moisture Across Western U.S.

    As California and the American West head into fire season amid the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are harnessing artificial intelligence and new satellite data to help predict blazes across the region. Researchers have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states, opening a door for better fire predictions.

  • WildfiresLong-Term Efficacy of Managed Wildfires in Restoration Efforts

    Land managers are increasingly interested in using lightning-ignited wildfires as a tool to restore forests and reduce fuel loads. But little is known about the effectiveness of managing wildfires to meet restoration goals. For several years, ecologists have been working to better understand ecological outcomes of wildfires managed to achieve resource objectives and conditions under which practitioners can expect beneficial results.

  • Fire protectionIncreasing Fire Protection through Virtual Reality

    Fire is one of the most dreaded anxieties in households worldwide. In 2018 Dutch insurance companies registered no less than 80,000 domestic fires. The most common cause is smoking, followed by technical malfunctions in appliances and cooking. Preventive measures can avoid many of the consequences and there is a lot to be gained.

  • FireHow Fire Causes Office-Building Floors to Collapse

    Engineers and technicians at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) spent months meticulously recreating the long concrete floors supported by steel beams commonly found in high-rise office buildings, only to deliberately set the structures ablaze, destroying them in a fraction of the time it took to build them.