Wildfires

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  • 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

    Report

    Indonesian Fires and Haze

    Jul 20, 2021

    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?

  • 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

    Commentary

    As Fire Season Heats Up, Burnout Looms

    Jul 21, 2021

    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.

Explore Wildfires

  • 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

    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

    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

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Forest Service Should Consider a Different Mix of Aircraft to Fight Wildfires

    The U.S. Forest Service should upgrade its large airborne firefighting fleet to include more amphibious scooper aircraft, with air tankers and helicopters in a supporting role during the initial attack of fires before they become large.

    Jul 30, 2012

  • amphibious aircraft

    Report

    U.S. Forest Service Should Consider a Different Mix of Aircraft to Fight Wildfires

    The U.S. Forest Service should upgrade its large airborne firefighting fleet to include more amphibious scooper aircraft, with air tankers and helicopters in a supporting role during the initial attack of fires before they become large.

    Jul 30, 2012

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Identifying a Cost-Effective Aviation Fleet for the U.S. Forest Service

    This brief provides an overview of a RAND study to support the U.S. Forest Service in determining the composition of a fleet of airtankers, scoopers, and helicopters that would minimize the total social costs of wildfires.

    Jul 30, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Mental Health Risks for Residents Displaced by Wildfires

    Residents who have been displaced by the wildfires may experience serious mental health problems. Up to one-third of the residents displaced by the San Diego area fires in 2003 showed symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and major depression three months later.

    Jan 1, 2007

  • A spreading wildfire in the Anaheim hills, California

    Report

    Natural Disaster Research Could Help Reduce Economic Losses

    The nation may be able to reduce losses from disasters such as wildfires and floods if more research focused on how to protect people, buildings and infrastructure.

    Jan 1, 2003

  • Report

    Report

    Forest Fires, Air Pollution, and Mortality in Southeast Asia

    Forest Fires, Air Pollution, and Mortality in Southeast Asia

    Jan 1, 2002

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    The Dangers of Smoke Haze: Mortality in Malaysia from Indonesian Forest Fires

    Narayan Sastry assembled data from Malaysia to study the mortality effects of smoke haze in that country from the Indonesian forest fires that burned between April and November of 1997.

    Jan 1, 2002

  • Report

    Report

    Forest Monitoring and Remote Sensing: A Survey of Accomplishments and Opportunities for the Future

    Forest Monitoring and Remote Sensing: A Survey of Accomplishments and Opportunities for the Future

    Jan 1, 1999

  • Report

    Report

    Physical Models of Fires and Their Associated Environment

    Derives a general, flexible, mathematical model describing the progress of a fire, and presents graphical output of a computer simulation employing the model.

    Jan 1, 1973