Posts Tagged: Max Moritz
It may seem like a wildfire would be easy to detect, but vast, rugged wilderness can permit a small blaze to develop into a firestorm before firefighters are deployed.
Reeling from the enormous losses sustained by last year's devastating Station Fire in Los Angeles County -- which took two firefighters' lives, destroyed dozens of structures and cost more than $95 million to fight -- Supervisor Mike Antonovich is asking the county to allocate money to study a high-tech early detection system.
"The Station fire graphically spotlights the need to study and identify solutions for establishing an automated early detection system," Antonovich said in his motion to allocate the funding, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The goal of a technology-based system would be to . . . have a programmed airborne response within minutes to suppress the fire before it spreads."Times reporter Tony Barboza spoke to UC Berkeley fire scientist Max Moritz, who threw water on the idea.
"Does the technology even exist to do this kind of thing?" the story quoted Moritz, who is also co-director of UC Berkeley's Center for Fire Research and Outreach. "I think that's an open question."
Moritz said officials are already able to detect wildfire early under mild conditions.
"But under the conditions we're most worried about -- Santa Ana winds, for instance -- it's not clear that we'd be able to get airborne resources deployed within minutes," Moritz was quoted.
UC Berkeley and UC Cooperative Extension maintain a wide variety of programs aimed at understanding California wildfire and how losses from wildfire can be minimized. Articles, links, and video are available in the online wildfire media kit.