A few weeks ago we published an article about how we can learn from natural wildfire cycles. Now, the U.S. Forest Service in Utah is attempting to do just that with an enormous prescribed burn on a mountain in Fishlake National Forest’s Monroe Mountain.
As firefighters and manned helicopters control the burn, a group of scientists will employ weather balloons, drones, drive radar- and LIDAR-equipped trucks around the perimeter, fly specialized research planes overhead, and gather data on fire-hardened GoPro cameras to analyze the inferno.
The fire is part of a larger project to regenerate and diversify the Monroe Mountain ecosystem. Scientists from the Fire Weather Research Laboratory at San Jose State University say this burn will give scientists unique insights into fire patterns to better manage west coast wildfires which have increased in frequency and intensity due to climate change.
The blaze, which could reach up to 1,000 acres, will be used to study four key areas: fuels and consumption, fire behavior and energy, plume dynamics and meteorology, and smoke and emissions. The fire is scheduled for early November, pending ideal weather conditions in the area.