Wildfires

  • Journal Article

    What Can FEMA Learn from the Historic 2017 Hurricane and Wildfire Seasons?

    Emergency managers—including FEMA, but also extending to the states and localities that are the first line of defense—could do much more to identify statewide risks and build community resilience long before an event makes headlines.

    Feb 12, 2020

  • A local resident works repairing a house roof a year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, near Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, September 18, 2018, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Can FEMA Learn from the Historic 2017 Hurricane and Wildfire Seasons?

    When a hurricane comes ashore or a wildfire ignites, most of a community's vulnerability to the disaster is already set. Emergency managers—including FEMA, but also extending to the states and localities that are the first line of defense—could do much more to identify statewide risks and build community resilience long before an event makes headlines.

    Feb 3, 2020

  • Blog

    Australia's Fires, Artificial Intelligence, Fentanyl: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Australia's devastating fires, how artificial intelligence could manipulate the masses, the fentanyl crisis, and more.

    Jan 24, 2020

  • A burning gum tree is felled to stop it from falling on a car in Corbago, as bushfires continue in New South Wales, Australia, January 5, 2020, photo by Tracey Nearmy/Reuters

    Commentary

    Australia's Fires: Respond Now, but Also Measure Toll on People for the Future

    As an Australian, Melissa Finucane has watched with anguish as massive bushfires devastated wide swaths of her home country. As a researcher who studies community resilience, she can't help but think of how much blood, sweat, tears, and money will be required to recover.

    Jan 20, 2020

  • Blog

    Artificial Intelligence, Refugees, Global Health Security: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the Pentagon's artificial intelligence strategy, technology's role in the refugee crisis, threats to global health security, and more.

    Dec 20, 2019

  • A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop on the Getty Fire as it burns in the hills of West Los Angeles, California, October 28, 2019, photo by Gene Blevins/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Climate Scientist's Brush with Wildfire

    RAND researcher Robert Lempert was evacuated from the path of a wildfire. This experience emphasized for him the challenges of adapting to climate change, not merely because it is hard, but because it makes the familiar become unfamiliar in unexpected ways.

    Dec 18, 2019

  • Blog

    White Supremacist Terrorism, Wildfires, the Dark Web: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on violent white supremacy, power outages to prevent wildfires, how to catch criminals on the dark web, and more.

    Nov 1, 2019

  • An elderly couple leaves an evacuation center as a wildfire forces the center itself to be evacuated, Poway, California, October 21, 2007, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Commentary

    Turning Off Power to Combat Wildfires Could Harm the Very People Who Need Protection

    Intentionally shutting off power may be a practical way to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires. But is it worth the risks? Until more thoughtful and comprehensive decisions are made, planned power outages need to be planned better.

    Oct 28, 2019

  • A woman walks along a road covered in smog due to a forest fire in Banjarbaru, South Kalimantan province, Indonesia, September 6, 2019, photo by Antara Foto Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Uncovering the Links Between Fires and Public Health in Equatorial Asia

    Fires in Indonesia, if left unchecked, could cause an average of 36,000 premature deaths annually across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Researchers built a tool that models the effect of the fires on public health.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • Boats on the Musi River which was shrouded in smoke following an increase in fires in the region in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia, September 16, 2018, photo by Antara Foto/Nova Wahyudi/Reuters

    Commentary

    We Built an App to Detect Areas Most Vulnerable to Life-Threatening Haze

    Forest and land-use fires are ravaging Indonesia's Sumatra and Kalimantan islands. Haze from these fires is life-threatening; inhaling smoke can cause heart and respiratory diseases, leading to premature deaths. We developed a new tool to provide decisionmakers with information to protect people who live downwind.

    Sep 10, 2019

  • Journal Article

    Fires, Smoke Exposure, and Public Health: An Integrative Framework to Maximize Health Benefits from Peatland Restoration

    In this study, we present a novel approach that integrates information on the drivers of fire emissions in Indonesia, the transport of smoke to downwind regional population centers, and the resulting population exposure to air pollution.

    Aug 6, 2019

  • PG&E works on power lines to repair damage caused by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, November 21, 2018, photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

    Commentary

    Allocating Costs for California Wildfires

    Wildfires in California have caused and will likely continue to cause substantial losses for residents, businesses, and government agencies. It is important to distribute these losses in a manner that provides incentives to reduce their magnitude over time.

    Jul 24, 2019

  • Testimony

    Insurance for Wildfire Risk in California

    Testimony presented before a joint meeting of the California State Assembly and California State Senate Committees on Insurance on October 30, 2018.

    Dec 10, 2018

  • A house burns as firefighters battle a fast-moving wildfire that destroyed homes driven by strong wind and high temperatures forcing thousands of residents to evacuate in Goleta, California, July 7, 2018

    Journal Article

    How Wildfire Risks Impact California's Homeowners Insurance Market

    Wildfire poses considerable risk to Californians, and the associated increases in home insurance prices can cause financial hardship for families. It's critical to understand how the insurance market is performing with regard to wildfire risk and how climate change may affect this performance.

    Sep 5, 2018

  • A Super Scooper aircraft battles a 40-acre fire east of the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles

    Commentary

    Wildfires Getting More Destructive

    The potential for smoke to harm air quality and cause health problems was especially acute in 2015 because a record number of wildfires broke out in the United States. Pre-wildfire season preparedness could go a long way toward protecting public health.

    Dec 28, 2015

  • 415 Superscooper aircraft

    Commentary

    Fighting Fires From Above

    A newly deployed airborne firefighting resource is helping the United States Forest Service (USFS) battle wildfires, while at the same time providing valuable lessons on the utility and cost effectiveness of water-dropping scooper aircraft.

    May 15, 2014

  • A Hellenic Air Force Canadair CL-415 drops water over a forest fire northeast of Athens in August 2009

    Commentary

    Investing in Firefighting

    While the U.S. Forest Service has not completely agreed with RAND's proposal to transition to a fleet dominated by water-dropping scooper aircraft for fighting fires, they have leased one CL-415 scooper aircraft. It might be more cost-effective for the USFS to simply purchase it outright.

    Dec 30, 2013

  • California Air National guardsmen perform precision water bucket drops near Yosemite

    Commentary

    The Desirability of 'Free' C-27s for the U.S. Forest Service

    Although we believe that a scooper-centric firefighting aircraft portfolio for initial attack would still be preferred, Air Force-provided 1,850-gallon C-27Js could be a cost-effective component of the retardant-bearing portion of the Forest Service's airborne firefighting arsenal, write Edward G. Keating and Daniel M. Norton.

    Sep 6, 2013

  • Wildfire air tanker

    Commentary

    Firefighting Aircraft: Is Bigger Better?

    An aircraft's capacity and speed largely determine the rate at which water or retardant can be applied to a fire. Very large air tankers (VLATs) certainly have the capacity to apply large amounts of fluids to a fire, but because of the distances travelled they may not be able to get a second load very quickly.

    May 20, 2013

  • houses destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    Planning for Superstorms, Wildfires, and Deep Uncertainty

    The path to climate change preparedness should start at the intersection of resilience and robustness — that is, building resilient communities with the individuals and organizations within those communities making robust decisions, ones designed to work well over a wide range of ever-changing conditions.

    Apr 18, 2013