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NIST Deploys Experts to Assist in California Fires

For Immediate Release: September 3, 2009

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Contact: Evelyn Brown
301-975-5661

Ongoing Effort Aims to Aid Understanding, Mitigation of Wildfires in Urban Areas

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has sent two experts to California to assist in collecting data on structural fire damage in the ongoing Los Angeles Basin fires, also known as the “Station” fire.

This fire is a Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire, a type that is growing more prevalent as housing developments push into former wilderness areas. Fire researchers are working to understand WUI fire behavior and the effectiveness of current strategies for best reducing risks from such fires.

The NIST fire researchers are assisting the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which is interested in receiving NIST guidance on data collection methods. This latest action is part of a broader effort begun by NIST researchers in 2007 to study WUI fires in California and around the world. NIST also offers WUI data collection workshops that have been attended by members of the L.A. County Fire Department.

NIST has recently published an in-depth study on fire behavior and defensive actions taken in a community during the 2007 “Witch” fire in southern California and continues to collect data at WUI fires worldwide.

For more information on NIST's work on wildland-urban fires, please see http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2009_0616.htm#fire.

As a non-regulatory agency, NIST advances measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.