Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fireproofing homes dramatically reduces spread of forest fires, scientists find

29.08.2007
Why do some forest fires spread rapidly over large areas, destroying and damaging many homes, while others are contained with minimal damage?

New research shows a major factor is whether homes are fireproofed — not just yours, but those of your neighbors as well.

“There is actually more flammable material in a house per square yard than in a forest,” said Michael Ghil, UCLA distinguished professor of climate dynamics and geosciences and co-author of the research, which will be published in the Sept. 4 print edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Scienes and is currently available online.

“It makes a tremendous difference whether you fireproof your home or not,” Ghil said. “Neighborhoods where homes are fireproofed suffer significantly less damage than neighborhoods where they are not.”

“Our study shows that fireproofing of homes is important not only for the houses, but also for the forest,” said Ghil, who is a member of the Institute of the Environment and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCLA, with a joint appointment in geosciences at France’s Ecole Normale Supérieure. “We looked systematically for the first time at both the dwellings and at the forest. When you fireproof houses, not only do you help preserve those houses, but you also help limit the spread of fires to a much smaller area.”

Ghil and his co-authors modeled the spread of fires and studied data from forest ecosystems in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. They addressed both the houses and the trees in a unified way for the first time.

“Many people seem to have a fatalistic attitude and don’t understand that it really matters whether you fireproof your home, and whether your neighbors do,” Ghil said. “The spread of forest fires is not just an act of God. Fireproofing houses can make an enormous difference in whether a fire sweeps through a community or not.” As the density of non-fireproofed houses increases, the chances of the neighborhoods burning increase dramatically, Ghil said.

Many regions in the United States have experienced a long period of severe drought, which increases the flammability of the forest, Ghil noted. Other factors in the spread of forest fires include vegetation (if it is drier, the chances of a fire spreading increase) and wind intensity and direction.

Homes built in the hills, near natural vegetation or in other parts of what is commonly called the “wildland-urban interface” are very common in the United States and account for well over one-third of all housing.

Stuart Wolpert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>