"Los Angeles is in its second week of trying to contain the Thomas fire that has spread through two counties. Millions of acres have burned across the U.S. this year, and one fire killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in California wine country in October. What role is technology playing in preventing harm from wildfires? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Brandon Collins, a research scientist at UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach, about fire prevention technology – and its limits. "
Center for Fire Research and Outreach at UC Berkeley
A decision to cut power – on purpose – to thousands of residents in Riverside County mountain communities for about 33 hours last week is an example of how far Southern California utilities are willing to go to prevent arcing power lines from sparking wildfires during high winds.
And, in the wake of the deadliest fires in California history in October, it’s a practice that may spread to the northern part of the state, according to Bill Stewart, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach.
“It’s going to be a great big regulatory issue, I’m sure,” Stewart said Monday.
"A four-hour drive east of wine country, gray trunks of dead incense cedar and white fir cover the steep slopes of the Eldorado National Forest. Deep into a canyon and up to a ridge in the distance, the trees are so close together that their branches touch. UC Berkeley fire ecologist Brandon Collins brought me here to show me the consequence of decades of fire suppression combined with climate change. This forest would usually burn nine times over the course of 100 years, but no fire had blazed here since at least 1908. “Without fire, you’re going to have these dense stands no matter what,” Collins says."