Living with Fire: Location Factors

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Detailed Description

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: 00:01:49

Location Taken: San Diego, CA, US


Jon Keeley:
The goal of the Fire Risk Scenario Project

is to reduce housing losses in the future
and at the same time reduce wildlife habitat


Weather conditions that cause these fires
occur every year.

Thus, in southern California we need to change
the way we look at fires.

Nobody talks about trying to stop earthquakes,
wildfires require the same sort of approach.

Scientists want to understand how fires are

ignited and which factors which cause homes
to burn can be controlled.

For example, why do some communities burn
and others don’t?

The project has already uncovered some important


The scientists analyzed the locations of nearly
6,000 homes destroyed or damaged by wildfires

since 2001.

Alexandra Syphard:
What we’re finding really is that location

is the most significant risk factor.

And the most dangerous locations are those
along ridge tops in wind corridors, Santa

Ana Wind corridors as well as when there’s
really low housing density or when the homes

are scattered in isolated clusters of development.

These homes not only are at more risk but
they are also more difficult for fire fighters

to get to.