New paper: Fuel and topographic influences on wildland firefighter burnover fatalities in Southern California

Submitted by fl_admin on Tue, 10/30/2018 - 14:09

Previous reviews of wildfires where a fatal firefighter burnover occurred have found that the incidents usually share similar characteristics in terms of the fire environment, such as steep slopes and complex topography (e.g. box canyons). Despite these similarities, systematic identification and communication of the locations where these conditions prevail are rare. FFS Forestry Technician Wesley Page and Research Mechanical Engineer Bret Butler recently published their study in which they used a presence-only machine-learning algorithm (Maximum Entropy, or MaxEnt) coupled with spatial location information from past fatal firefighter burnovers to identify and characterize the environmental variables that are likely to produce conditions suitable for a fatal burnover. They chose Southern California to conduct their analysis because of its well-documented history of past fatal firefighter burnovers and a complex fire environment. Wesley and Bret found that steep, south-westoriented slopes located in canyons with a shrub fuel type were the most dangerous locations for firefighters. Read their results in their paper, “Fuel and Topographic Influences on Wildland Firefighter Burnover Fatalities in
Southern California.”