• Commentary

    We Aren't Helpless in the Face of Increasing Fires and Smoke

    Modernizing, better funding, and expanding wildland firefighting forces in North America won't make fires or smoke magically disappear. A massive paradigm shift is necessary. But it's clear something needs to happen immediately too.

    Jun 12, 2023

  • Commentary

    Disaster Recovery Creates Its Own Bubble

    Shortages of workers and materials inevitably make rebuilding slower and more expensive after a natural disaster. In Maui, this is likely to be a problem for agencies like FEMA that provide public assistance. But it will also be a problem for individual households if private insurance payouts are insufficient to rebuild.

    Sep 20, 2023

Explore Wildfires

  • A Maui County firefighter fights flare-up fires in a canyon in Kula on Maui island, Hawaii, August 13, 2023, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters


    After Maui Fires, Food Security Is a Major Concern and Opportunity

    The full impact of the deadly Maui fires on food resilience strategies remains to be seen. But the disaster highlights an urgent need for a systems-based approach to address both food security and wildfire prevention.

    Sep 6, 2023

  • The Vaa family escaped the deadly wildfire that swept through Lahaina, on the Hawaiian island of Maui, August 13, 2023, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters


    Much of the Damage in Maui Will Be Invisible, but Very Real

    In addition to decimating buildings and other infrastructure, disasters also destroy human capital, the collective knowledge and skills that drive individual economic earnings, as well as regional economic growth. Failing to address these more-hidden damages is incredibly costly.

    Aug 21, 2023

  • Director Mark Ghilarducci (right) addresses Cal OES personnel during an April 2022 all staff meeting


    Emergency Management in California: Reflections by Mark Ghilarducci

    During a November 2022 webinar, Mark Ghilarducci, the Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), reflected on his more than 30 years of experience and diversified service in public safety and emergency management at the local, state, and federal levels.

    Dec 30, 2022

  • Elderly woman sitting on sofa in living room cooling off with floor fan, photo by klebercordeiro/Getty Images.


    Ovens and Tinderboxes in the Golden State: A Mixed-Methods Exploratory Analysis of Joint Heatwave Power Outage Events

    Examines associations between hazards, outages, and health outcomes for California cities from 2008–2020.

    Jul 21, 2022

  • Report


    The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Impact on Fire Safety Standards

    The authors document the role of the National Institute for Standards and Technology in developing fire safety standards and analyze the economic and social benefits provided to society as a result of the adoption of those standards.

    Jan 26, 2022

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Growing Exposure of Air Force Installations to Natural Disasters

    Some Department of the Air Force installations face high levels of exposure to flooding, wildfires, or high winds. Twenty installations have areas with high or very high wildfire potential.

    Sep 16, 2021

  • Firefighters knock down hot spots while protecting a rail bridge from the Dixie Fire near the town of Quincy, California, August 5, 2021, photo by Fred Greaves/Reuters


    Climate Change Is Only One Driver of Explosive Wildfire Season—Don't Forget Land Management

    The fire seasons that have been scorching huge areas and wiping entire towns from the map appear to be the future. Accepting that wildland fires are a part of our environment and working to live with fires rather than continuously fighting against them may be the most responsible path forward.

    Aug 16, 2021

  • A facility at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael, October 10, 2018, photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Conroy/U.S. Air Force


    How Can the Department of the Air Force Prepare for Natural Hazards?

    Some Air Force facilities are exposed to flooding, high winds, wildfires, or even multiple hazards. Future costs of damages are uncertain, and climate change could affect the frequency and scale of these hazards. The process for making investment decisions regarding resilience should be flexible.

    Aug 9, 2021

  • Firefighters mop up hotspots in the northwestern section of the Bootleg Fire in Oregon as it expands to over 210,000 acres, Klamath Falls, Oregon, July 14, 2021, photo by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters


    As Fire Season Heats Up, Burnout Looms

    Increasingly intense fire seasons are taking a physical and mental toll on wildland firefighters. Without more direct attention paid to firefighters' mental health, burnout could decimate the ranks of those who protect lives and property across the West.

    Jul 21, 2021

  • Forest fire, several hectares of pine trees burned during the dry season in June 2013 in Tele-Samosir Lake Toba (Danau Toba) North Sumatra (Sumatera Utara) Indonesia, photo by Ares/Adobe Stock


    Indonesian Fires and Haze

    Fires in Indonesia contribute to severe air pollution that causes public health, environmental, and economic degradation across Indonesia and across equatorial Asia. What are the drivers of fire activity in Indonesia? And what are some the health impacts of air pollution exposure?

    Jul 20, 2021

  • A firefighter works on the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda, California, October 26, 2020, photo by Ringo Chiu/Reuters


    Another Record-Breaking Fire Season Shows the Need for a Comprehensive Strategy

    Year after year, fires across western U.S. states scorch forests, rangeland, and neighborhoods, wreaking havoc on rural economies and pushing smoke into cities. Policymakers should consider a coordinated and comprehensive effort that brings together the best minds in government, communities, and academia.

    Nov 6, 2020

  • A house burning along Cherry Glen Road during the LNU Lightning Complex Fire on the outskirts of Vacaville, California, August 19, 2020, photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How Wildfire Risks Affect California's Insurance Market

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, devastating homeowners and bringing heavy costs for insurers. And without an aggressive GHG emissions control strategy, climate change will likely increase the risk of wildfires in some areas. How will insurance markets respond?

    Sep 14, 2020

  • Periodical


    RAND Review: March-April 2020

    Feature stories spotlight how technology can better serve the world's displaced people, the promise of supportive housing for people with mental illness, and a RAND climate scientist's personal brush with wildfire.

    Mar 9, 2020

  • Journal Article

    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


    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 disaster is already set. Emergency managers including FEMA, states, and localities could do much more to identify statewide risks and build community resilience before an event makes headlines.

    Feb 3, 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


    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

  • 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


    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

  • 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


    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