Living with Fire: Human Fire Ignitions

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Southern California's fire ecology is unlike that of anywhere else in the United States. Fire control strategies developed for mountain forests don't have the same results here. So can science help uncover new answers to help Southern California communities manage and live with wildfires? This 10 minute film showcases ongoing USGS research supporting agencies on the frontlines of fire management. Like earthquakes, southern California wildfires can't be prevented -- but the risks they pose to our communities and landscapes can be managed. USGS scientists hope to increase our understanding of wildfire factors. The resulting research can assist managers and planners in finding solutions to reduce the risk of home and habitat loss -- and help southern California truly learn to live with fire. USGS General Information Product 147, June 1, 2013


Date Taken:

Length: 00:01:59

Location Taken: Los Angeles, CA, US


But vegetation on the landscape is only part

of the equation.

More than 95% of fires in southern California
are caused by humans not by natural sources

like lightening strikes.

Human factors have increased fire ignitions
and fire frequency dramatically.

Scientists are studying the options available
for reducing human ignitions such as those

that start along roadways or by arcing power
lines during high wind conditions.

The scientists are studying how homeowners

can reduce their risks of home loss when a
fire does start.

C.J. Fotheringham:
To be able to go look at how things were before

the fire is phenomenal.

This is a new thing that we’re able to do

They examined foot by foot, houses, yards

around them, landscaping, accessory structures,
even the landscapes slope, and then analyzed

what burned and what did not.

Jon Keeley:
This research is leading us to reverse our

thinking about wildfires.

Instead of the traditional from the wildland
in approach research results are telling us

we need to think from the house out.

Fire questions in southern California are

more complex than they seem.

Project scientists have much more to investigate.