• DHS S&T Selects Two Industry Partners for Second Phase Wildland Fire Sensor Research

    DHS S&T selected two industry partners for the second phase of research on wildland fire sensor. The first phase research was conducted in June 2021, and the next phase of the program will focus on hardening the sensors for longer-term field deployments.

  • How Years of Fighting Every Wildfire Helped Fuel the Western Megafires of Today

    Why are wildfires getting worse? Climate change is a big part of it. But, ironically, a chronic lack of fire in Western landscapes also contributes to increased fire severity and vulnerability to wildfires. It allows dry brush and live and dead trees to build up, and with more people living in wildland areas to spark blazes, pressure to fight every forest fire has increased the risk of extreme fire.

  • Fire Season Heats Up, and Burnout Looms

    To the dangerous conditions such as scorching temperatures, drought across 90 percent of the West, and intense wildfire, we must now add another: a looming crisis of burnout among wildland firefighters.

  • Protecting Lives on the Wildland Fire Line

    Unlike first responders who fight structural fires, wildland firefighters are unable to use the current standard respirator systems, which are heavy, limited to 45 minutes of air and are too bulky. Since the current standard equipment for respiratory protection is a bandanna, DHS S&T and partners designed the Wildfire Respirator around a lightweight mask covering just the mouth and nose, relying on filtration rather than on heavy tanks of compressed air.

  • Massive California Blaze Triggers Lightning Fears

    Smoke columns from fires in California could spawn lightning storms that cause more blazes, experts warn. Several communities have been evacuated. Fires in California have already destroyed three times more vegetation this year than they had at this time last year, which was the worst in the state’s history.

  • 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.