• We Can’t Predict the Next Wildfire Disaster – but We Can Plan for It

    When it comes to wildfire threats to communities, we are navigating uncharted waters. Under extreme conditions, we cannot stop a spreading wildfire. When they occur, the only option is to contain it or evacuate. So start planning your route now.

  • Can the Destructive Bootleg Fire Teach Us to Prevent Wildfires Before They Start?

    More and more, people are moving to less populous, woodland regions of the country, a phenomenon that puts more people in the path of potential wildfires and requires critical utilities such as power and water to be transported long distances from their origins. This creates a system of infrastructure that’s vulnerable to major disruptions—which is exactly what happened in the Bootleg fire.

  • Early Wildfires Detection Systems Successfully Tested

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) successfully tested four prototype technologies for early detection of wildfires in California this week. The test was the second phase of S&T’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) wildfire sensor technology program.

  • How AI Could Alert Firefighters of Imminent Danger

    Firefighting is a race against time, but exactly how much time? For firefighters, that part is often unclear. Building fires can turn from bad to deadly in an instant, and the warning signs are frequently difficult to discern amid the mayhem of an inferno. To remove this major blind spot, NIST researchers have developed P-Flash, or the Prediction Model for Flashover.

  • The 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.

  • New 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.

  • Post-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.

  • New 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?

  • The 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.

  • Groundbreaking 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.

  • Wildfire 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.

  • Fire 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.

  • Addressing 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.

  • Wildfire 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.

  • Insurance 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.