As wildfires rage, US fire ecologists grapple with lack of data
I used to fight wildfires. We need to understand how they grow if we want to prevent and extinguish them.
Each year, tens of thousands of wildfires flare in the US. Most are small, averaging under 200 acres, but a few dozen grow into megafires, often rapidly, in events known as ‘blow-ups’. Right now, amidst heatwaves, 12 US states are battling over 70 wildfires.
During the heat of the summer, wildland firefighters must juggle conflicting priorities using li…