You’ve heard it all before, “Don’t play with fire, or you’ll get burned.” Well, scientists in California are doing the exact opposite, all in an attempt to learn more about wildfires.
In a lab test, Professor Marko Princevac, of UC Riverside, is overseeing a brushfire that he and his team created. But before you go reaching for the fire extinguisher, check this out…
Unlike the beastly untamed wildfires in nature, Marko has this one completely under control. And his team is right by him… studying the effects that environmental factors (like wind and humidity) have on the speed at which fires spread. Professor Marko Princevac explains the study in a little more detail:
“We designed this wind tunnel where we can control the speed, the ambient temperature, the relative humidity and what we do is make a model of a real situation in the field.”
The end goal is to help firefighters tame real fires more efficiently. And with this replication of different types of weather conditions, the team is able to create models that’ll do just that.
What’s more, the data will help to reduce the dangers of “controlled burns,” which are the fires used to clear dangerous vegetation in high-risk regions. David Weise, of the U.S. Forest Service, can also benefit from these reports. Here’s his take on the study:
Southern California, are the elevated fuels. So what we are trying to understand is how fire spreads in those two fuel types and how those two fuel types work together when they burn.”
The risk of wildfires is higher than ever – considering the historic drought conditions of the western United States, per Weise. But with this newfound knowledge, he’s hoping firefighters will have a better chance at saving property and, more importantly, lives.