Post Tagged with: "fires"

2013 wildfire season way below average

2013 wildfire season way below average

Wildfires were thrust into the national spotlight twice this year, first when 19 firefighters died in Arizona on June 30, and again in August, when the 257,314-acre Rim Fire burned in and around Yosemite National Park. But if you look at the federal government’s statistics, 2013 is on track to be one of the quietest […]

Up in smoke: federal wildfire suppression costs are rising

Up in smoke: federal wildfire suppression costs are rising

Federal spending to fight wildfires is trending higher. Not only is the overall, inflation-adjusted cost increasing, but the federal cost per wildfire and per acre burned are also on the upswing. Before the federal shutdown turned government websites into virtual ghost towns, I was snooping around the National Interagency Fire Center’s site, and I came […]

The fuels dilemma and Western wildfires

The fuels dilemma and Western wildfires

When I was getting certified as a wildland firefighter in 2002, they taught us that fire behavior is based on three basic factors. First, weather: not just the temperature, humidity, and wind at that moment, but also the climatic conditions over the preceding months and years. All else equal, if it’s hot, dry, windy, and […]

Counting homes in the Western WUI

Counting homes in the Western WUI

When firefighters are deployed to battle wildfires, they often focus on saving structures in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), where homes mix with or border flammable vegetation. Where are these vulnerable homes located in the West? Data from analytics firm CoreLogic provide a good high-level overview of the Western WUI. I’ve created a dashboard on this […]

Mapping the Wildland-Urban Interface

Mapping the Wildland-Urban Interface

The fire-prone wildland-urban interface (WUI) is in the news after more than 500 homes burned in the 14,280-acre Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs. The most destructive wildfire in state history (in terms of homes lost) has once again highlighted the dangers of living amid flammable forests and woodlands. I’ve pulled together maps of the […]

Wildfire ignition trends: humans versus lightning

Wildfire ignition trends: humans versus lightning

The Western wildfire season is well underway, so I thought this would be a good time to examine a key question: what causes wildfires? Basically it boils down to two ignition sources—humans and lightning—but the balance between these two causes varies dramatically across the country. We have a dashboard on ignition that illustrates the data […]