Center for Fire Research and Outreach
Center for Fire Research and Outreach
Center for Fire Research and Outreach
University of California
Center for Fire Research and Outreach


Latest Center News

2/28 - Management, firefighting crucial to determine wildfire risk

A new study from researchers in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and the UC Berkeley Center for Fire Research and Outreach demonstrates that vegetation management and firefighting play major roles in determining fire risk in California.

Using 65 years of historical fire data, authors Van ButsicCarlin StarrsWilliam Stewart, and Connor Stephens reveal that on comparable lands, federal ownership, federal firefighting, and “reserve” designation were associated with significantly higher fire probability. This difference increased over time: wildfires in the most recent time period (2000-2015) were 2-3 times more common on federally owned lands compared to similar non-federally owned lands.

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2/13 - California’s wildfire risk is rising. Congress missed a chance to help

WASHINGTON - Forestry experts have a dire warning for California: the conditions are ripe for more catastrophic fire seasons like the one last fall. And an arcane federal funding arrangement is making it a lot harder for forestry officials to do something about it.

Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at the University of California, Berkeley Center for Forestry said, "Political leaders should be able to find common ground that both respects the environment and reduces fire risk. The status quo for California's forests is unsustainable." 

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1/25 - 100 million dead trees in the Sierra are a massive risk for unpredictable wildfires

“If our society doesn’t like the outcomes from recent fires and extensive drought-induced tree mortality in Sierra forests, then we collectively need to move beyond the status quo,” said study co-author Scott Stephens, professor of fire science at Berkeley. “Working to increase the pace and scale of beneficial fire and mechanical treatments rather than focusing on continued fire suppression would be an important step forward.”

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12/14 - What tech can — and can't — do to prevent and put out wildfires

"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. "

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12/13 - The ‘extraordinary situation’ that led Edison to cut power to thousands as wildfire-prevent

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.

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For today's top fire-related news stories, please view our Wildfire News


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