• First respondersThe Future of Lifesaving Firefighting Technology

    A groundbreaking tracking and location technology will soon allow agencies to pinpoint their firefighters to within centimeters, helping to navigate them quickly and safely out of potentially disorienting emergency scenarios.

  • FirefightingNew Fire-Simulating Tool Could Improve In-Flight Fire Safety

    Some of the most dangerous fires are the ones you don’t see coming. That goes not only for fires in buildings but for those kilometers off the ground, aboard commercial airliners. Many aircraft have systems to detect fires early on, but fires that spark in their attics, or overhead compartments — spaces with curved ceilings, filled with air ducts, electrical wiring and structural elements — could potentially sneak past them.

  • WildfiresPost-wildfire Landslides Becoming More Frequent in Southern California

    Southern California can now expect to see post-wildfire landslides occurring almost every year, with major events expected roughly every ten years, a new study led by U.S. Geological Survey researchers finds.

  • WildfiresNew Timeline of Deadliest California Wildfire Could Guide Lifesaving Research, Action

    The November 2018 was the costliest disaster worldwide in 2018 and, having caused 85 deaths and destroyed more than 18,000 buildings, it became both the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history, two records the fire still holds today. What made the Camp Fire so devastating? And what lessons can we learn to prevent another disaster of this scale?

  • WildfiresThe Shifting Burden of Wildfires in the United States

    Wildfire smoke will be one of the most widely felt health impacts of climate change throughout the country, but U.S. clean air regulations are not equipped to deal with it. Experts discuss the causes and impacts of wildfire activity and its rapid acceleration in the American west.

  • 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.