• 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.

  • Tunnel firesTunnel Fire Safety: With Only Minutes to Respond, Fire Education Counts

    Global risk management experts are calling for fire education initiatives to be included in driver safety programs so that drivers are better prepared for an emergency if faced with it on the roads. Researchers assessed fire safety mechanisms of road tunnels, finding that risks to human life could be reduced through greater awareness and education.

  • FirefightingSafe, Effective Shipboard Firefighting

    Fire on board! This is a grave danger for any ship, but especially so when a ship is ostensibly safely docked in harbor – where “normal” firefighters are on duty and have to cope with the special challenges on board a ship. The countless types of vessels and their different structures coupled with the unique aspects of firefighting operations on the water present unusual and difficult operating conditions for traditional firefighters and involve many risks.

  • Fire risksBuilding Standards Give Us False Hope. There's No Such Thing as a Fireproof House

    By Geoff Hanmer

    Bushfires have killed 33 people and destroyed nearly 3,000 houses across Australia so far this fire season. Canberra is under threat right now. It isn’t only houses. Significant commercial buildings have been destroyed, among them Kangaroo Island’s iconic Southern Ocean Lodge. In New South Wales alone, 140 schools have been hit. Many require extensive work. Trouble is, Australia’s National Construction Code provides false, and dangerous, hope. The sad truth is that any practical building that is exposed to an intense bushfire will probably burn down, whether it complies with Australia’s National Construction Code or not.