• 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.

  • PerspectiveOn A Hotter Planet, We Are All Australians

    Warm the human body by 7 degrees Fahrenheit and death ensues. David Spratt writes that on the Paris Agreement emissions trajectory, the entire world is heading for around 7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming once system feedbacks are included. The Lancet wrote: “Without immediate and efficient climate action, catastrophic bushfires will become a common disaster and might destroy the future of Australia and possibly of humanity.” Spratt says: “On a hotter planet, we are all Australians, one way or another. And the fire season is far from over.”

  • ArgumentThe Lessons from Australia’s Fires

    You might think that Australia is particularly vulnerable to forest fires. But that would be a mistake. Many other countries share the same conditions that have set Australia ablaze, physically and politically, including similar terrain and a leadership that has yet to wake up fully to the new reality that climate change is creating.

  • WildfiresNew Wildfire Reality: Helping Land Managers Take Risk-Analysis Approach

    New digital tools will enable land managers to better adapt to the new reality of large wildfires through analytics that guide planning and suppression across jurisdictional boundaries that fires typically don’t adhere to.

  • WildfiresAustralia’s Fires: The Worst Is Yet to Come

    “Human-caused climate change is most certainly an important contributing factor to the recent fire season in Australia,” says an expert. “What is perhaps most concerning, is that while this year’s fire season, just now underway, appears to be unprecedented, forecasts suggest it will be dwarfed by future conditions.”

  • BushfiresAustralia: Rising Temperatures, Intensifying Winds Threaten New Fire Wave

    Firefighters in Australia are working around the clock as temperatures and winds are expected to pick up in the coming days, threatening to ignite a fresh wave of fires. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet with leaders of financial institutions and agencies to discuss the soaring costs of the on-going crisis.

  • 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.