Fire Fighters Stretched Thin, Says Wildfire Expert

August 28, 2013
Mark Cochrane, senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, surveys damage from the Antelope Complex Fire in Plumas National Forest in northern California. Sparked by lightning, the 2007 fires were fueled by an abundance of dead trees and brush on the forest floor.

Mark Cochrane, senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence, surveys damage from the Antelope Complex Fire in Plumas National Forest in northern California. Sparked by lightning, the 2007 fires were fueled by an abundance of dead trees and brush on the forest floor.

All eyes are on the Rim fire in California, yet for the fifth time in 10 years, our nation is at Preparedness Level 5, which means our firefighting capabilities are stretched thin and the government can opt to bring in the military and even firefighters from other countries.

Professor Mark Cochrane, a senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University, is using satellite imagery to help improve forest management techniques. One of his projects is designed to determine which management techniques, including thinning and prescribed burns, work best in which forests in the United States. The study focuses on 630 large wildfires that occurred in the last decade in U.S. National Forests.

“Looking at how these fire regimes change as a function of climate,” Cochrane predicts “these types of fire will get worse over time.”

 

Source: South Dakota State University

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