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  • California's wildfires are getting worse.

  • In fact, six of the state's most destructive wildfires have happened in the last four years.

  • In 2018 alone, fire scorched nearly two million acres.

  • It was California's deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever recorded.

  • This year, the electric company PG and E even preemptively shut off power in areas of Northern California to reduce the risk of igniting ablaze.

  • Yeah, so are the prevention techniques we're currently using Enough.

  • Or is there something more Californians can do to control these wildfires?

  • Fire management and prevention can look very different, depending on which part of the state you live in.

  • We have two very different types of fires that are driven by two very different factors.

  • Many of our fires occur in the northern part of the state in the Sierra Nevada, and the primary reason for some of Northern California's most severe forest fires is a buildup of brush on the forest floor.

  • Historically, California forests naturally cleared this brush through smaller, more frequent fires.

  • But with the founding of the U.

  • S.

  • Forest Service in the early 19 hundreds, the U.

  • S government began putting out these fires.

  • We have many forests, UH, in the northern part of the state that have gone a century without fire.

  • And that was one of the most important factor factors in the Northern California fires of 2018.

  • So in Northern California, one effective method of dealing with this accumulation of fuels is prescribed burning.

  • The goal is to light a fire under safe conditions in order to clear out the dead plants and underbrush that can act as fuel for the most severe, uncontrollable wildfires.

  • Fires will burn no matter what.

  • But with this technique, firefighters can control when, where and how much they burn.

  • If you talk to people who fight fires, they'll tell you there's no question in their mind that they could see the change in fire behavior when they reach Ah prescribed burn area and how much easier it is to extinguish the fire once it reaches those areas.

  • But between 1998 and 2018 less than 3% of all controlled burns in the country happened in California, and that's pretty low when you consider that more wildfires have burned in California over the last five years than in every other US state except Texas.

  • But prescription burns wouldn't work everywhere.

  • In fact, in Southern California, it might actually make things worse due to a number of reasons, including the most obvious being near large metropolitan areas.

  • The devastating campfire, for instance, happened as a result of extreme wind conditions, not from a buildup of dense brush.

  • So when it comes to wind driven fires here, something's Californians can do to protect their homes.

  • The type of Eve's you have on your home can make a big difference in whether your home survives.

  • Auras burned and ive is basically the edge of a roof, and having closed eaves makes it harder for embers to enter the home.

  • Other things like single pain versus double paned windows.

  • Not surprisingly, thicker windows will do a better job of standing up to high heat than thinner windows.

  • Clearing dried leaves and brush off of your roof and gutters leaves less letter for fires to catch flame.

  • By installing a sprinkler system on your roof, you can catch embers early on and prevent rooftops and other homes from igniting.

  • Planting mawr well.

  • Water trees around buildings can also increase the chances of a structure surviving a wildfire.

  • We often think the best way to protect our homes is to get rid of all the vegetation around the home.

  • But it turns out in these wind driven fires, when you completely clear the landscape, the winds blow unobstructed across your landscape and bring Amber's right to your home.

  • If you have trees that air green, those trees can actually collect the embers.

  • What we call amber catchers cutting off power to homes can also help.

  • Dry, windy weather, compounded by extreme drought conditions and an expanding power grid, have made the perfect environment for power line sparks to ignite massive wildfires.

  • In the last decade, probably our worst fires, at least wind driven fires have been ignited by power line failures.

  • But cutting power alone isn't a long term fix for this problem.

  • Utility company could respond to this.

  • One could be to put in underground power lines, and then you have less chance of a failure and igniting a fire.

  • California fires are also compound it by the state's growing population.

  • You see, the majority of wildfires are human caused, so a bigger population means more chances for arson and accidental fires that can grow out of control.

  • So a longer term solution for this could be better community planning way.

  • Need to think better about how to plan, uh, communities.

  • But part of the problem is, is the state's growing?

  • And just in the last 20 years, we see this massive increase in fires well, we've also had six million more people added to the state.

  • The next 30 years we're going to see another 20 million.

  • And so we need to think, How do we plan communities so that we can reduce the possibility that people will ignite thes fires during extreme wind events?

  • And finally, combating global warming will also play a crucial role in the future of California's wildfires.

  • According to a recent report, Northern California summers have gotten 2.5 degrees warmer since 1970 hotter weather causes drier, dry seasons and especially affect areas like northern California forests.

  • Okay, slowing down or stopping this warming trajectory could potentially play a role in the intensity and severity of wildfires in the years to come.

California's wildfires are getting worse.

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An Expert Explains How To Control Wildfires In California

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/24
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