tv Hearing on Wildfire Science CSPAN July 13, 2021 11:25pm-1:56am EDT
since this is a hybrid, we will have a countdown to begin it? or do we just proceed? okay so, this hearing will come to order. without objection, the chairs authorized to declare a recess at anytime. before i deliver my opening remarks, i wanted to note that today the committee is meeting both in person and virtually, and i want to have a couple of reminders to the members about the conduct of this hearing. first members and staffed, who are attending in person, and who are unvaccinated against covid-19, they need to stay masked throughout the hearing. unvaccinated members may remove their mask, only during their question under the five minute rule. of course unvaccinated persons can also attend remotely. members who are attending
virtually, can heave their video feed on as long as they are at the hearing. and they are responsible for their own microphones. please keep it muted unless you are speaking. finally if members have documents they wish to submit for the record, email them to the committee clerk whose email address was circulated prior to the hearing. i want to say good morning, and thank chairwoman, johnson for agreeing to hold this hearing. she is in her district with the first lady of the united states today. and i am honored to be able to chair this hearing on wildlife, and wildfire science and i think it's very clear that in the 2021 fire season that we've already had that begin and it's much worse than last year. it's already over 100 and 100,000 more acres of american wild land has burned than by this point in time in 2020.
firefighters in my home state of california, they are currently battering battling six large wildfires throughout the states. and this is cause for alarm. in 2020 alone, the u.s. saw record wildfires burn 10 million acres of felt of land, over 4 million which were -- . in 2018 californian fires only burned 2 million acres. climate change has increased extreme wildfire conditions, with nine more days of the potential added every year since 2000. as a risk for catastrophic wildfire grows, social our ability to be able to forecast it and mitigate risk. we have an opportunity to discuss the state of wildfire research, and how we can use it to improve our understanding of conditions in the field. we will also discuss, gaps in
the science and identify opportunities for further federal investment and coordination. federal programs, like the u.s. drought monitor are instrumental in helping our wild land managers prepare for the fire seasons. this is one example how advanced coordination, between science agencies and operational managers, can lead to actionable science. the dedicated authorities, and investment in wildfire science, we can develop additional capabilities for realtime to texan a fire ignition, and even deepen our understanding of wildfire fuels. i was proud to cosponsor an amendment with my colleague, on wildfire research funding, that's at the nsf for the future act. it was a great start to what we can do to strengthen wildlife research. but we must do more. it's not right for congress not to act and bolster our wildlife
research, it's also dangerous. that is why i am drafting legislation in this committee to improve the understanding and prediction and management of wildfires through research initiatives. this has also inter agency collaboration, and coordination to include science agencies, in federal wild fire response. and i hope this will lead to our federal agencies working closely with fire managers to ensure that wildfire science could be operationalized and mitigate wildfire risk. we are fortunate to have witnesses today, whose testimony will inform this legislation. joining us our academic researchers, the using information provided by nasa, and the epa to build out america's wildfire research capacity. we look forward to hearing from them. and we have opportunities for areas a further investment in wildfire science.
i would also like to extend a warm welcome to dr. craig clements. doctor clements, is the director of the state university wildfire interdisciplinary research center. which is a leader in wildfire research. i look forward to hearing his testimony about the importance of supporting interdisciplinary research. also fortunate we are have to have with us today, some of the big bravest people facing the wildfire crisis which is our first responders. they intimately understand which innovations best support on the ground needs. this hearing is a critical first step, in creating a truly government response to wildfire risk that connects research to operations. we are encouraged by the administration's emphasis on climate resilience, and robust
funding for our science agencies to tackle extreme weather. as this leaves us ample room to work with appropriators to ensure funding levels and the magnitude of the wildfire levels that we face. at this point i would like to yield, to the ranking member for any comments he may wish to make. >> thank you and i would like to thank chairwoman johnson, the four presiding today. today's hearing is timeline, it's timely as we enter the summer months which is the beginning of fire wildfire season. many of my western colleagues, with say there's not much of a true wildfire season anymore, with fires acute occurring year-round. last year brought haunting images of wildfire images across the west. this year could be even worse. the national inter agency fire center reports, said the number of fires burned to date, our
head of last year's figures. getting the on going drought, it's reasonable to conclude, that this year's wildfire statistics could be historic. it's important part of the ecosystem, often this occurs naturally, many flat species rely on wildfire for the growth and regeneration process. many animal species, looked to recently burnt lands for their habitat. however lengthy are drought, hotter temperatures, and poorly men maintain federal lands are contributing to a greater frequency and intensity of wildfires across the country and around the world. which is problematic. additionally, the increased number of people who live in the wild land urban interface, the area where residential neighborhoods meet wooded areas, that's created a new allocation resources. the they have devastating
environmental impacts. we tend to think of the west as being the most vulnerable to wildfire, but this is an issue for all of us. the sources spent combatting wildfire, our resources that could be spent on revenue generating, or recreational activities, and diverse are attention away from other emergency response needs. several agencies within our jurisdiction, have a role in combatting wildfire. whether it's nasa, or no was meteorologist helping firefighters plot the path to fight the wildfires. other agencies engage in research, with other aspects of wildlife behavior and how we can improve structures. but all the work of these agencies, is carried out in a coordinated manner we must be sure of that, we the. i want to thank our witnesses for appearing before us today,
i'm pleased to welcome the -- who is the washington state forrester, he was previously the forrester of oklahoma, and you could talk to about this to how it happens a different parts of the country. so how can we improve coordination among agencies, and what actions we can take which would be the most beneficial's beneficial to him and all the on ground wildfire responders. i know this is a very busy period for him, especially given the record breaking temperatures over the west, especially this last week, and i thank you for taking time to share this extensive experience with the committee. with that madam chair, i want to thank you and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. without objection, other members may submit opening statements to the record. i would now like to introduce you to our witnesses, all of whom are participating remotely.
our first witness, is doctor craig clements. doctor clements, is a professor in meteorology, and the director of the wildfire interdisciplinary research center. he leads research on fire, weather, extreme behavior, and fire atmospheric interactions, and will he has wildfires a wildfire experiments. he has 25 years experience in meteorology, and teaches wildfire science, mountain meteorology, climate change and meteorological instrumentation. our next witness is dr. jessica bacardi. doctor bacardi is the director of the geospatial analysis center, and has a cause of july 1st, associate professor of geography at miami university in ohio. she has 15 years experience in applications and geospatial and
data science. to accurately quantify the human caused fire emissions, agriculture and security and land the covered land use chain exchange. she is the coauthor of more than 30 peer review journal articles. 12 conference proceedings, three book chapters, for technical reports, for data citations, and one nasa technology transfer. our third witness, as has been mentioned by the ranking member, the is mr. george geissler. he's a forester, it's deputy supervisor for wildfire and forest health, and having previously served in oklahoma. he has 30 years of experience, in natural resources and wild land fires, and fire management and six years of experience in structural firefighting as a volunteer in idaho and new mexico. he is a member of the society of american foresters, since
1987. and he is a certified force here. he joined the oklahoma foresee forestry service in the -- . before being named a state forester, he served to function all forest management activities, by the agency. and our fourth and final witness, is chief eric -- who has retired from his position, as far chief of santa fe new mexico. he's had a majority of his career, in the santa fe fire department, completing his time as fire chief and city manager, before returning to the county where his career began. he has 25 years of service, his work for new mexico state forestry, and is part of multiple incident management teams, and for many years owned santa fe wildfire, which provided resources for management and response. as our witnesses should know, you will each have five minutes
for your spoken testimony. your entire written set testimony, will be included in the record of this hearing. when you have completed we are spoken testimony, we will begin with questions and there will be a little clock i believe on your virtual screen. and that will count down your five minutes and when your five minutes is up, we ask that you will sum up that you can hear all the witnesses before we take calls. first we will talk with you we will start with you doctor clements. >> good morning chairwoman, and ranking member lucas, and members of the committee. and congresswoman lofgren and thank you for inviting me to provide testimony on this important issue. i'm honored to appear before the health science, and space technological committee with
this hearing on wildfire science, looking at opportunities for further research and coordination. i will focus on fire weather and the need for indigenous investment in science i would like to thank the congressman for advocating more investments over the federal government and her letter to the biden administration. there's no doubt that wildfires are becoming larger and more severe in the western u.s.. this trend is projected to continue due to a number of factors including 100 years apart exclusion that resulted in increased tree density and death accumulation and longer five seasons and changes in weather conditions due to climate change. now more than ever our nation needs to increase investment in fire science to empower decision-makers and address complex things we face. i want to focus on a cute few key aspects of an important. fundamental mechanisms of spread are so poorly understood. especially in the context of
key events. we don't have a good understanding of what role these play on fire spread. nor do we have the appropriate separations to tackle them. there's a gap between high resolution data to understand far behavior and current capabilities of fire observation systems. in terms of observational needs money to start treating fire weather the same as we do other severe weather phenomenon. we are on the same levels of funding or dedicated resources for fire weather as we do for severe storms or hurricane research. we need the equivalent for hurricane hundreds for wildfires so that we can better see and sampled a wildfire. additionally were missing the appropriate census for critical observations. specifically publicly available high spatial temporal observations from space and aircraft. these observations cannot just be a snapshot once or twice a day. they need to be continuous over the entire event. comprehensive observation data says that include fire weather,
are rare. fire and smoke evaluation experiment, a multi agency program addresses these data gaps by capitalizing on high intensity fires and there should be initial priority. in terms of prediction of fire behavior, investment is needed in operational community based couple fire models which are models that link fire spread to the weather prediction forecast. these are the only models that can best predict. a committee based model is even more important because ages allows any institution to not only use the maduro so share with other users. this is in contrast to others in institutional they're not available for other institutions to contribute to. -- this model has become a court
for the casting system used by agencies around the world. further investment and this framework will improve our ability to better predict future fire. in terms of driving the science forward and promoting innovation, directed funding to agencies that support research and wildlife science needs to be a priority. they are already leading wild life research efforts but is somewhat coordinated. when exception is the joined fire science program that's had its budget reduced in half. restoring its budget and even increasing it that will benefit wildlife fire science. federal investment should also target grant programs for academic institutions. for example a national science foundation could develop specific wildfire funding programs that would find not only basic research but also provide more mechanisms for research within the social sciences. finally, most importantly in my opinion, they need to establish
financial and sustainable fire weather research program. to date there's never been a dedicated program that finds both basic and applied research and fire weather. this is critically needed. thank you. >> thank you very much, dr. clements, we will now turn to our next witness. doctor mccarthy. we are pleased to hear from you. >> thank you. thank you chairwoman and johnson, lofgren, and ranking member lucas, distinguished members of the community. i appreciate this -- for federal wildfire science. i am doctor jessica mccarty, as of july first-time associate professor of geography at miami university of ohio. i've more than 15 years experience in satellites. he'd related to missions including as a member of the 2019 no one massive fire field campaign. during my testimony i will highlight the relationship between climate change and
wildfires. options to reduce fire risks. solutions for satellite based detection and monitoring. especially bob -- climate change increases drought and believes dead trees. and it has extreme fires even in eastern forced. lighted 2016 smoky mountains fires near gatlinburg, tennessee, the brunt 17,000 acres and killed 14 people during an exceptional drought. within the arctic regions of alaska climate change will increase lightning activity. will trigger in transition from a broil for some more -- and will dry out peatlands
causing a long-lasting underground fires that span multiple fire seasons. wildfires contribute to climate change by being a source of carbon dioxide. other greenhouse gases as well. more frequent and intense wildfires in the future could potentially lawyer -- research into mitigating future wildfire risks should note that mitigating any wildfire risk means reducing carbon emissions and preventing further warming. since we cannot prevent lightning strikes and as we were to limit warming our remaining options are to reduce human cost emissions and to modify fuels. human causing emissions in the western u.s. account for 84% of wildfires. in a warmer and more flammable future we must act to reduce arson, accidental fires and the spread of open burning form agricultural fields and research in those areas will assist in those actions.
wildfire risk can be lowered through fuel reduction. this is most effectively done via prescribed learning. as well as working with indigenous fire practitioners to return it cultural burning to the lands. it communities tolerance for smoke will often dictate when or if they prescribe fire occurs. and social science research into those community reactions is needed. the choice is our. do we tolerate a few hours of smoke or do we wait until we are forced to evacuate? space borne of fire detections often rely on 375 to one kilometer resolution orbiting satellites. which are overhead two to three times a day as dr. clements mentioned. a higher resolution sensor like eight or demeanor one is only overhead every 16 days. but the pixel sizes are about the size of a baseball diamond. two stationary systems like -- as are points up to two kilometer vectors. the capture images every five
to 15 minutes and improve while in part detection monitoring and research needs combined higher spatial and temporal sensors. no was g ex oh gets closer to such a system but the first launch is currently planned for the early 20 thirties. we need this now. being able to see new fire ignitions and spread every 15 minutes within baseball sized, baseball diamond grids would be a game-changer for science. for fire management in incident command and for public education and engagement including improved warning systems. finally out to be remiss not to mention as well the joined fire science program. the jff espy is a solutions oriented research collaboration that provide scientific funding for practical results. but it also funds in manages to fire exchange networks these regional exchanges provide the most relevant and current wildland fire science to federal, tribal, state, local
and private stakeholders across all 50 states currently the funding for and future of the j fsb and the regional exchange is in question. we should not reinvent the wheel when a functioning and successful federal mechanism that collaborate with non federal partners all levels already exists. thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify before you today. other ford to answer your questions. >> thank you very much. we will turn to our next witness mr. guy slur. looking for to hearing from you. >> good morning chairwoman and ranking member lucas and distinguished members of the committee. i am state force and deputy widely and force held for the washington department of natural resources i'm past president of the national association of safe force or chair of an essay f app and a member of the wide line fire emission council. i appreciate the opportunity to
speak with you today as a committee examines opportunities for further research and the coordination related to what fire science. say forestry agency such as the are contribute is ignition portion of the overall wild fire suppression efforts nationally in terms of resources, personnel, capacity and funds. each year state and local agencies respond a majority roughly 80% of all wildfires across all jurisdictions. and state foresters were closely with conservation districts, mayors and local county governments, tribal and federal partners across the u.s. to deliver forestry programs and wildfire protection on a national scale. we appreciate the work of this committee to address this important issue and in the interest of time will highlight the following recommendations for improving research and development efforts focus on supporting wildland fire management. first please support research and development on wildlife --
[inaudible] >> the color unmuted, please mute. [inaudible] >> there is a clear need for realtime monitoring at the operational level to inform responses. as a response the national hurricane center uses many models as guidance in the preparation of official tracking intensity forecasts for hurricanes. forecast models very tremendously instruction and complexity. similar to those one combined a collection or ensemble of wildlife -- wildfire models in realtime to provide wild land of fire operations and better inform the public. second please support the development of fire simulation models that incorporate a built-in environment as a fuel. currently wildfire models has wild lands stopped at the environment to better determine a future threat to communities. trees and grass burns
differently from homes and businesses. please support research and development that enables remote tracking of all suppression resources in realtime. management suppression yields a patchwork of communication embers to track resources. we need to develop standardized track every sources. for integration of the system and the inter agency environment. we need to improve capacity for early detection and assessment. particularly in rural areas. oftentimes many areas including my own state of washington, wildfires go undetected for days. we now rely more and more on citizens to report wildfires than typical 9-1-1 calls. for access to satellite technology and high performance infrared cameras would greatly improve early detection. and attacking wildfires early when small is the key to reducing fatalities, injuries, loss of natural resource, property damage and lowering our firefighting costs.
also we ask you to prioritize the development of realtime smoke modeling for wild land fire managers. and local and regional public health officials. there are opportunities to leverage resources are the epa and centers for disease control to better understand public health impacts of smoke on people including widely and firefighters. with many wildfires occurring there more materials and chemicals in the homes and streets that burn and reduce a toxic environment. we ask you provide a research opportunities that help inform implementation of the next generation of national state of local codes and standards for addressing issues and catastrophic wildfire risk. this research should you less of us available science and include a reveal pass. finally we ask you develop a standard of warning scale for wildfires that actually conveys magnitude or potential magnitude of current developing and projected wildfire events. this scale much like the
enhanced fuji to scale for tornadoes, the richer scale for earthquakes, would help convey the magnitude of the threat to the public and could be used to improve evacuations and emergency preparations. thank you for this opportunity to appear today on behalf of washington's department natural resources and the state forces, improvements and applied research development in technologies. and wildfire management. we will greatly enhance our collective ability to safely respond to wildfire and better protect our communities. i look forward to answering your questions. thank you. >> thank you very much. now for our final witness, chief litzenberg. >> good morning, chairman johnson, chairwoman lofgren and ranking member lewis. i'm recently retired fire chief of santa fe county fire department. i currently service chair as
wildfire policy committee. i appreciate the opportunity today to discuss the state of federal science in the future. wild land fires are now a threat to every state as my previous panelists as well as members of the committee have stated. the statistics continue to rise. this year, probably, looks to be the worst on record. local fire departments are on the front lines. we prepare communities for fires and are often the first to respond. we help evacuate communities. with the fires over we help them recover. and address threats often follow like debris flows, and insights. well federal agencies like the u.s. or fema played the most visible role federal research agencies like nasa, now, and nsf provide tools to help prevent and fight future wildland fires. we currently provide research for fire weather prediction,
satellite imagery, fire analysis, research and building codes, community fire prevention, post foreign ellis instead he is a major catastrophic fires and their aftermath. greater federal research into satellites, technology can revolutionize preparedness and response. as we adapt to new technology, we can provide the incident commanders on scene with a host of new tools. most importantly we can develop an integrated fixture. this will allow us to effectively stabilize the property in the face of a grunt widely and fire problem. as federal researchers focus on the national problem, i would like to highlight some emerging fields of research in technology to consider. ground base, airborne and satellite remote sensing systems can provide an early warning system and better picture of the incident. satellites can identify fires and low density areas. also, remote sensing can be used to provide information about fuels and droughts.
fire mapping can be used to prevent and mitigate wildland fires. these maps can guide hazardous fuels and other mitigation projects. they also can provide realtime interactive maps to assist in sync commanders during a fire. remote sensing data and wrist maps can be used to provide analytics. this information can be used by identifying -- focus community preparedness for mitigation efforts. the uas provides several capabilities. taken over over a fire truck progress. infrared cameras can be used to identify hotspots and provide a wealth of realtime data to the firefighters in the field. the development of a firefighter location tracking system would be a game-changer. the creation of a practical firefighter checking to could include firefighters safety and reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur each year. they ifc recommends the forest service, fema and noaa, and, missed work with the wild land leadership council to develop a
standard warning system for wide land fires. much like the richer scale for earthquakes. descended us warning system would help managers and a public act as a fire develops. federal agencies should develop dedication systems, this includes uniform formatting, methodology to capture and report data, including information about mitigation, prevention, and post recovery efforts. effective communication systems are the glue that link all of these opportunities together. unfortunately we're still facing problems of coverage. it will be crucial to address this problem to take advantage of the new tools under development. i would like to highlight the role in focusing, building out a nation broadband network. these capabilities offer potential but they must be integrated effectively before incidences occur on scenes. for the federal agencies working with the foreign service and department of interior, they should also work with state, tribal, territorial
and local partners. there are opportunities. that these discussions. in addition they should work with non government organizations such as the ifc. organizers of adverse communities can guide community preparedness efforts like the ifc's ready set go program. in addition the national fire academy, ifc and other education. -- why lynn fire problem is a national challenge. the ifc looks for it to working with the committee to mobilize the resources. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. >> thank you very much for your testimony. to all the witnesses for your testimony. at this point we will give members of the committee an opportunity to ask a question for the witnesses for about five minutes. and i will begin with myself. my constituents, the
constituents of many of us on the committee have been dealing with severe wild land or mega fires in recent years. in fact the wild land fires have grown from season forget vg santa rosa in 2017, a little town, not in the middle of a forest, and the fire came in and destroyed 5% of the housing in that suburban community, all the houses are gone, the shopping centers burned down. going with represented thompson, who represents that area, other areas of his district that was burned. the fire in paradise, 2018, the fire swept through and the entire town was destroyed.
obviously, we have important steps to take. i am interested in how we can enhance collaboration and coordination across the federal government along with the operational stakeholders. as academic researchers who rely on federal data and resources, where should the federal investment in wildfire science be most urgently directed? first you, dr. clements. dr. clements: i think that funding these programs across all the agencies, particularly i think what we really need to focus on is research. so we can get better information in terms of better tools.
and so having new tools will allow us to build what we need in terms of center systems because we are lacking those center systems. and also the fact that we need more platforms. as was stated earlier was the fact that we need better satellite technology. i think an investment in a lot of satellite development would be really beneficial to the entire wildfire science community. chair lofgren: dr. mccarty, do you have anything to add? dr. mccarty: i would add that we need to think about as we develop these tools we communicate them with the public in an effective way and we also integrate their input. i think a lot of times when we think of wildfire risk and reducing risk, we forget people are the main cause of fires stella. -- fires still. and the more that we are transparent and open with the public, the better they will understand the risk, potentially act as good citizens to reduce that risk in the future. that includes science research, public health research, as was mentioned. thank you. chair lofgren: are there opportunities for federal investment or direction that could have positive impacts in the short term?
how long do we think it will take for the longer term investments to have realized impacts? dr. mccarty and then dr. clements. dr. mccarty: so satellite development, these things take a while. decade old surveys are a decade long for a reason. but oftentimes it's the funding and the priority that limits the advancement of these systems. and i agree also with federal investment in the wildland fire leadership council would also be needed so that it can interact with the incident command and the commanders on the field. and nist well as other agencies. that is a short-term, high-risk, high reward investment that could be done quickly within an off-season to see if that implements better in the next fire season. chair lofgren: dr. clements, anything to add? dr. clements: one thing that could happen quickly is
restoring the joint fire science program budget would allow researchers to engage quickly. that program actually funds things faster than a lot of federal agencies. the time between proposal submission and project start is really quick. that could be one way to just jump-start a lot of research quickly. chair lofgren: mr. geissler and chief litzenberg, i don't have much time left, but do you have anything to add? >> thank you. there is one statement i would like to make. i agree with the comments from my colleagues on the panel. i would like to emphasize the application of that science also. there is a lot of really good work that's ongoing that will require just a little bit of funding. maybe increase collaboration between state, local, and federal agencies. we could get this technology to the ground, to the firefighters where it's going to make a difference. that interaction and collaboration i find is something that we should foster and support as much as possible.
chair lofgren: thanks. mr. litzenberg: i will add and echo for all three panelists and emphasize what george geissler just said. there are places where this integration is already happening effectively. as science and data is created, it will be important to get this to the boots on the ground, practitioners. wildland fire leadership council and national agency fire center , that integration is happening already. chair lofgren: thank you very much. my time has expired. i would like to recognize the ranking member, mr. lucas. mr. lucas: thank you, madam chair. george and i think we have worked together long enough i can tell you george. you mentioned your testimony about listing several areas about how the committee could fill gaps and address shortfalls, and the chairwoman very appropriately went down that. could you expand for a moment
, thinking about from a committee's perspective, prioritizing those. where particularly, george, if you had the ability to give us guidance, how would you prioritize one, two, three, four, if you don't mind? mr. geissler: i would be glad to. thank you, representative lucas. yes, you can call me george, any time. the priority we are looking at -- i am very aware of a lot of the satellite technology as some of the early work that's been going on. in fact, in my time with oklahoma forest service, we would work closely with the severe storms lab, doing early detection and notification modeling. i know that while there is long-term implications and development of the resource, currently there is a ton of opportunity just to get that on the ground right now working with local agencies. the other piece that i would really like to emphasize is the firefighter and resource tracking. this is a safety issue. there are a number of different
systems that are out there right now. to be able to monitor and track our resources in real time, ensuring that we are putting them in the best place as possible, and utilizing them effectively, and especially monitoring them to ensure they are safe and that we are tracking. and know they are all going home. i think that's absolutely critical for us. we could make the changes that are necessary there. it's a standardization process and implementation process that really needs to occur. the last one for me is very much -- i know there is a lot of work here, but it is something that i would sink my money into. that's the discussion around real time smoke modeling and continuing the decision space around that. smoke is probably the greatest public health issue related to wildland fire. and knowing what that implications are, being able to work with the public to improve
public health and firefighter health, in fact, i think it's just part of that mission and the c.d.c. and e.p.a., along with several other regional smoke agencies, are doing some amazing work. and to kind of foster that even further would be a tremendous asset to us all. mr. lucas: you know my district, george, literally from the northeast corner of the state to the southwest corner, northwest half of oklahoma, weather forecasting is critical to my farmers. it's decisions about when to plant, fertilizer, harvest. utilize prescribed burns to help maintain the health of our range lands. one of the ways that my neighbors and my spouse use -- engage in decision making is using oklahoma's mesonet system, which provides up-to-the minute weather data. how do you utilize that data when you were state forester of oklahoma? and along with that, while you are thinking about it, do you
believe that such a system should be emulated in other states to help benefit, prevent, and fight large-scale wildfires? mr. geissler: the mesonet is such a unique resource for firefighters. we can watch in almost real time whether there are wind changes. i remember distinctly my fire chief counting down a wind shift to people in the field, telling them when it was going to occur. he did it within minutes. because we were watching it all on the screen. when i worked in other parts of the country, especially if you go to places like here in washington state, we struggle because there are so many microclimates and not enough monitors. but to be able to do that, to be able to tell folks in real time and do the prediction that folks that have all of that data like what the mesonet system
provides, was just unbelievably valuable to us in that environment. especially an environment that the type of fuels oklahoma has, it's a rapidly changing fire scenario. they are very quick, fine fueled. you have to know the wind very effectively to do it. in other parts of the country , when i got -- get out, i do sometimes wax nostalgia about mesonet. having something to that effect across the united states would be amazing. i think any fire manager that works in oklahoma is always thrilled by the app we can easily download on our phones and do that. so it's an excellent tool. i agree. mr. lucas: absolutely. the ability to protect both citizens' lives and their property. i know there have been many occasions as you have alluded to when volunteer fire lines have been moved in a hurry because they couldn't survive where they were. an amazing system. with that, i thank you, george. i yield back.
chair lofgren: thank you very much. the gentlelady from oregon is recognized. ms. bonamici. ms. bonamici: thank you so much, chair lofgren, chair johnson, and ranking member lucas. thank you to our witnesses for bringing your expertise. i represent northwest oregon. this past weekend, the pacific northwest faced a record breaking heat wave with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees for multiple days. it was 115 at home yesterday. these dangerous temperatures combined with a thin snow pack and below average precipitation are really raising alarms about our upcoming wildfire season. in fact, we have already seen a 6,200 acre fire on the confederated tribes of warm springs reservation in central oregon. fortunately, it's been mostly contained. oregonians have become too familiar with wildfires in recent years. over labor day weekend just last
year, powerful winds and very dry conditions resulted in unprecedented wildfires across the state. approximately a million acres burned. lives were lost, homes and communities were destroyed. hazy skies and smoky conditions made the air quality in portland comparable to some of the most polluted places on the planet. thank you, mr. geissler, for highlighting the health hazards of smoke. our communities are on the frontlines of climate crisis and wildfires are another example of the need of comprehensive and bold climate action. dr. clements, you said we need to treat wildfires like other severe weather threats. in your testimony, you noted the deficiencies in our understanding how wildfires create their own weather and how fire spheric interactions can affect spread. how would improving our understanding of fire weather help to mitigate or respond to wildfires? how can congress better direct federal agencies to conduct this important research? dr. clements: thank you. the fire weather gap --
knowledge gap is really -- is a problem, because we just don't put those resources to fire weather like i mentioned thinking about the hurricane hunters. we don't have those resources for fire. we have suppression resources. tons of suppression resources. one thing we can do is we can instrument suppression aircraft with these tools, with the science tools. i have been advocating this for a while now. it wouldn't be that hard because everything would be automated. we could actually get all the information in real time. so harnessing the current platforms that are surrounding fires is really important. and i think what we are missing is that we can't -- when we go -- for example my team, we go to active wildfires in california with doppler radar, doppler lidar, the only team in the u.s. that can do that. there are no observations on active wildfires. it's not like they are storm chasers chasing fires. we are a small team and get just a little bit of information here and there.
we need to change that concept and make it more of a priority where we are actually supporting the incident meteorologists of the national weather service on these big fires. in addition, i think we could support -- funding could be directed to noaa for this type of infrastructure. to support the meteorologists. they are tasked with forecasting very high resolution using models, but they don't have the observations on the fire. some of these fires are so remote, we don't have the observations. ms. bonamici: i want to try to get in another question. thank you so much. chief litzenberg, i joined my colleagues on the select committee on climate crisis and releasing our plan to reach net zero emissions midcentury. the plan represents the first significant legislative proposal to address the need for climate resilience investments, including investing in wildfire risk mapping systems that
integrate relevant data from federal agencies, states, and partners. in your testimony, you noted the importance of risk mapping and real time interactive maps. what are the implications of the expansion of the wildland urban interface without high resolution mapping? how could better maps, including powerful level data, better inform planning and response decisions? mr. litzenberg: thank you for that question. that is the key to what we do. getting good data and putting it in a way that's usable, not only to our responders, but to those in the community who are working on the team that's doing prevention, doing mitigation. trying to make our communities safer. and as we have seen hotter, drier conditions, the risk areas have expanded. i will say and said in my testimony as well, one of the keys to me and my profession and my representation as a responder is that that data becomes available as real time as
possible to those that are on the grounds doing the work. so there is application in both prevention, mitigation, and predictive analysis and incident command and real time situational awareness. ms. bonamici: my time has expired. i yield back. chair lofgren: thank you very much. mr. posey is recognized. mr. posey: thank you, madam chair. i appreciate you having this hearing. mr. geissler, the proceedings of the national academy of science issued a report entitled "human presence diminishes the importance of climate in driving fire activity across the united states." this report is significant because it found that climate was significantly less important where humans were more prevalent , suggesting that human influence overrides or even exceeds the affect of climate
change from fire activity. madam chair, i would ask unanimous consent to submit this report for the record. chair lofgren: without objection. mr. posey: thank you so much. based on your experience to prevent fires, should our limited resources be focused more or specifically on what and how we are building in fire zones, rather than the broader topic of climate change? mr. geissler, i appreciate your response. mr. geissler: i appreciate that. when we talk about fire and fire prevention, one of the earlier panelists mentioned the greatest numbers of fires are caused by humans. whether it be a spark or a campfire. we use the old smoky bear message. only you. bottom line is with developing in wildland urban areas, we are getting more people so you have more opportunities for fires to occur.
not that they are trying to prevent it, but it's greater opportunities. in my own state of washington the west side while it does have forest that is typically have a longer duration between fires because of the fuel pines, that's where our biggest population is. we are seeing significant fires there. but at the same time, if you look at our forests and forest resiliency, climate has had an impact on that also. combining with both challenges, that's why a lot of what you see happening right now is an emphasis on working towards healthier forests, greater resiliency, and make them more fire adaptive. for me, it's a two prong approach. we have to get our fuel situation under control. we have to be able to keep our landscapes resilient, whether it's a forest or a range land. but at the same time, there is an education process, prevention
process, which we have to get people to be aware of what they are doing, be able to prevent those fires, and then in our planning efforts, as people who move into these beautiful areas, we have to get those areas better prepared for the interactions of the fires that will inevitably come. chair lofgren: can you hear us? mr. geissler: i cannot hear you anymore. i cannot hear the congressman. mr. posey: is this better? mr. geissler: that is better. thank you. mr. posey: i'm asking if you would be kind enough to explain why we need to include our communities, those where we have built homes for those businesses and schools, in fire simulation models.
>> as we see homes being put into these areas, our models look at it as a layer of fuels. we look at it as trees and grasses. homes and businesses, structures, all of these things change the fire behavior, change the way that fire acts on the landscape. having that information, knowing how the reaction of the fire is going to be or the behavior of the fire is going to be when it hits these communities is something that will inform our firefighters and make them work safer and be able to suppress the fires easier. >> thank you. i see my time has expired. i yield back. ms. lofgren: thank you. mr. bera of california is now recognized. mr. bera: thank you, madam chairwoman, and the ranking member. obviously, this is a hugely important issue for us in california. if i think about why i left the state of california, from hiking in the back country as a boy scout, hiking the sierra
nevada, it is now scarred by forest fires. i will ask a series of questions and i'd ask the witness to keep their answers short so i can get through a number of these. i want to make sure i understand on the fencing side, i heard a number of the witnesses talk about how we just haven't allocated the satellite resources necessary. i don't think this is a technology issue. we have infrared sensing devices. we have the ability to put satellites in space so they're constantly monitoring the area 24/7. we have drone capabilities to surveil these areas. it's not a technology issue. it's a resource allocation issue, if i get that correct. and is that an accurate sense? >> yeah.
we can use cal fire as an example. cal fire adopted the latest science and software package available and it allows to track resources, firefighters -- it puts the fire prediction model in there. it's the state of the science. it has been very successful. that information gets some satellite, fire guard data so they can map it. but those data aren't really applied to the research community. yes, the resources -- it's a resource issue. cal fire has already adopted it and it's successful. they have a new system for the whole state, and it's a really good model that should be used nationally. mr. bera: fantastic. that's something we as a committee can work in a bipartisan way. question for mr. geissler. one of the issues i worked on, we allocated resources for forestry management, etc.
for years, we did this thing where we would take those resources and send them to fight the fires. i know we tried to address the issue of fire borrowing. i suspect we can do more on the forestry management side to mitigate some of these forest fires, is that correct? mr. geissler: yes, sir. the fire borrowing issue was actually helped tremendously by some legislation that occurred a couple years ago. really, the emphasis right now needs to be to take that -- those dollars and really force them onto the ground and making sure they are being put into the highest priority areas that we have. a lot of times when we're doing forest management, i call them random acts of conservation. where a lot of it is kind of spread across the landscape and prioritizing the funds, making sure they get to the ground is something we should all emphasize and work harder on. mr. bera: ok. great.
we were able to pass that legislation in a bipartisan way. i think this is another area where we can work together as democrats and republicans, you know, to really make sure we're actively managing our forests, mitigating some of these fires. mr. litzenberg, let me ask you a question. four, five years ago, i had two of my local fire chiefs who happened to be up in washington, d.c. visiting. they started talking about the stresses that we're putting on our firefighters. since then, i talked to a number of -- i represent a suburban, urban community. a lot of our firefighters rotate into the hills to supplement calfire. they're almost constantly working during fire season. we put together a piece of legislation called the heroes act a few years ago which was passed out of the house in this congress. really identifying and trying to address the pressures and stress that are leading to firefighter suicide, firefighter ptsd, etc.
if you can just quickly comment on the stresses that the men and women are under, both urban and suburban, but also those in the forestry service. chief litzenberg: it's in all levels, behavioral stressors, physical stressors. the more you ask from a workforce that's already strapped, the more you ask to serve in terms of hours in day, weeks, year, the more exposure you give into smoke of human suffering, the greatest stressors we have. we always appreciate investments in solutions. we are just beginning to discover the effect that these stresses have on our response force. they are significant. mr. bera: we passed that out of the house in a bipartisan way. we hope the senate will send it to the president's desk. with that, i yield back. ms. lofgren: thank you.
mrs. kim of california is now recognized. mrs. kim: thank you, chair lofgren and ranking member lucas for holding this hearing. i want to thank the witnesses for being with us today. unfortunately, wildfires in my district and the rest of california, where congressman bera and i are from, we think it will be more prevalent every year. with most of california in extreme drought, the longer wildfire season is being exacerbated by the dryness of our landscape and the record breaking temperatures. adding insult to injury, the wildfire smoke and ash make it -- negatively impact our air quality and drinking water. i hope we can work in a bipartisan manner to better coordinate our federal efforts in predicting wildfires and adapt cutting edge solutions to detect fires as soon as they start.
mr. geissler, i represent california's 39th district, where we have unfortunately seen the devastating effects of wildfires, not only in my community, but across the state of california. so how can we ensure coordination between federal, state, and local communities to share available information and tools to better respond to wildfires? mr. geissler: thank you for that question, congresswoman. i appreciate it. the one thing that i willemphasize is you should be proud of the national system we do have currently. the interaction we have between federal, state, and local agencies is something that other countries come to try to duplicate. but there's always room for improvement. getting to common operating systems, being able to share data, being able to share and communicate effectively is really some of the items that if we can address those, it's critical.
a lot of times, it's just the difference between two computer systems or literally the links that we might be able to get from broadband that prevent some of the sharing. and so it sounds kind of basic , the need, but the willingness and the ability to do what is there. a lot of times it is just making sure that the connections are made, whether it be introducing two people, literally, just doing that, all the way to making sure that our systems link together and operate effectively. the system that was just described that cal fire has is absolutely amazing. it is doing some great work. part of the basis of that is its ability to start communicating across jurisdictional authorities and that's what we're all looking for, that ability to effectively share all of these resources that we currently have.
mrs. kim: so noaa has designed the next generation of [indiscernible] so have any of your colleagues in designing these satellites for wildfire detection facilities? if not, what advice would you give to help make the better solution more effective in wildfire detection and prevention? mr. geissler: so i will say i am unaware if any of my colleagues have worked directly with noaa with satellites. i will say in my past life, i was able to work with the national severe storm labs in norman, oklahoma, and i know the interaction between the national weather service and state agencies is very strong. i'm unaware of anyone speaking directly to them, but i do agree it is a huge opportunity.
>> have you had input on the development of any of these models, and in your opinion, what further research is needed? >> at lot of efforts have been coordinated through the wildfire leadership council, so you not only have safe foresters but mayors and other members of the various levels of government really having those discussions. it is a really powerful forum that discusses the needs going forward. into the future, we will try to enforce that and get more of the outreach. there was a recent memo between cdc and eta -- epa discussing
wildfire smoke and being able to address all of the coordinations, and that was made possible through the interactions we have had at the wildlife fire -- the wildfire leadership council. it sounds like i am a broken record in addressing some of these problems, but there's the need for further research and effectively making sure we share resources. >> i see my time is up, so i will yield back. >> thank you for presiding over today's hearing, and thank you to our witnesses for your incredible written and spoken testimony. your written testimonies in particular were quite inspiring, and i really enjoyed reading them. in michigan during this month alone, the national weather
service has issued multiple red flag fire warnings throughout the state, and in particular, last year, we saw fire outbreaks in northern michigan. in your testimony, you focus on programs aimed at fire weather research and wildfire predictions. could you tell me more about the climate investments and research needed for us to better understand the influences of wildfire on weather and vice versa? >> yeah, thank you, councilman, for the question. one focus i mentioned earlier would be this modeling tool because it is the only tool that allows the atmosphere to drive the fire and the fire itself to drive the atmosphere, and that is where we get our most dangerous fires.
investment into high resolution coupled by our models are critical. like i mentioned earlier, i have already exhausted the international model. these are the kind of tools i think we really need to invest in. in addition, it also predicts smoke at very high resolution, so you can tell the community what the smoke concentration will be in an hour, tomorrow, or the next day. that is what i would really focus on in terms of investment. >> do you have recommendations or any examples you know of in how the federal government is working across agencies to forecast and predict these fires and better inform and protect the public? >> in terms of national, we have a national fire danger rating system, which allows us to understand what the risk is. that goes across the nation, but it needs to be a little bit more
higher resolution in terms of forecasting certain areas. we don't really have a fire behavior prediction system at a national level. >> another major priority for many of us, including myself on the committee, has been the effort to strengthen our stem pipeline to make sure we have trained scientists and engineers to help address the 21st century challenges before us. dr. mccarthy and dr. clements, are there tools you believe would benefit the stem workforce , and how would you recommend those skills to be trained for?
>> sure. i will begin with that. i'm not from ohio. i'm actually from eastern kentucky. i know a lot about appalachian eastern forest fires. i started as an undergrad working for the daniel boone national forest and learned a lot of technical skills. as a first generation student, that was really important for me to have that applied workforce, working on fire risk modeling within the eastern forest because of southern pine needle infestation. that was one of the reasons i was able to get a graduate assistantship from a small school in appalachia, because i had worked on these types of on the ground management, stem skills in computing and data science.
i did not come from a very prestigious underground institution, though it is great, so that helped me in that pipeline. i do think this is a good way to get anyone from anywhere, a woman or a man, non-binary, to get involved because this is a problem across all 50 states. i would just say that and turn it over to dr. clements. >> we created a new wildfire sciences minor, so that will allow us to bring students from a diverse background into the field to give them tools they can take to their business major or psychology major. in addition to fire weather training that is critical for meteorologists to have. >> the gentlelady's time is
expired. >> thank you to all our witnesses for your testimony and sharing your extensive research and your experience with us. in 2020, iowa experienced 126 wildfire incidents that burned almost 226 acres. these fires can jump from burning grasslands to cultural fields. what is the current state of understanding as to how a forest or grass-based wildfire interacts with spreads across agricultural lands? what research questions remain to be answered in this domain? >> thank you for that question. there's a lot of work that is ongoing relative to the interaction between agricultural croplands.
for most wildfire land managers, we utilize a lot of agricultural cropland, because at certain times, they are the most irrigated spots on the planet, and we are able to use them in fire control, but as you know and others on the committee know, at various stages of the crop cycle, you will have conditions where crops will be damaged or that the fuels that are remaining on the ground can carry a wildfire. existing models need to be fine-tuned somewhat to correlate these types of agricultural crops they are currently seeing on the ground relative to the standard fuel models that we have, but there is probably some ongoing work that should happen
there. especially new crop protection going forward. >> thank you. i have seen a lot with our corn crop in the fall and soybeans when we are ready to harvest, and we see a lot of devastation. iowa is home to a lot of lakes and rivers. when we discussed wildfires, we commonly focus on the damage and destruction to the plains of vegetation and man-made infrastructures, but i would like to ask, what consequences can high intensity and high heat wildfires have on watershed and what do we need to better understand these impacts? >> i'm very glad you brought that up. post firewood cover -- post fire recovery is something a lot of
us are looking to to do a better job of this. if you look at resources that are available, forest service does have burn area response teams that can evaluate and look to those areas to determine what will be the impact, how we recover, what impacts it will have to water recovery as well as vegetation recovery. resources available at the state and local level are very limited. in most cases, and a lot of that does not get done, but when you have the effect of a catastrophic wildfire or one that removes a significant portion of the vegetation, obviously, that is going to have an impact on water quality downstream. the idea of what we need to do, how we address it is all being discussed right now. i know that the national sciences groups are actually
coordinating through usps and others. we are trying to come to a better way to effectively address these issues following some of these fires, and it does not matter if you are working in mountainous terrain where a lot of people think it is more significant or more visible, i should say, but on all aspects of watershed, if you have these kinds of damaging fires, you can impact water quality. quick so really appreciate that information. we see that in iowa quite a bit -- >> i really appreciate that information. we see that in iowa quite a bit where you have this buffer, and you have to wait for that to grow back. i thank you for the testimony of each one of you, and i yield my time back. >> thank you. miss stansberry is now
recognized. >> thank you so much for holding this important hearing this morning. i also want to thank especially chief list number for being here this morning from my home state of new mexico. thank you for your work on the front lines protecting our communities. i also want to thank you sharing your expertise this morning. i think it goes without saying that addressing wildfires not only matters -- is not only a matter of protecting our public safety and the ecological well-being, but in new mexico is also a matter of national security because a significant amount of forest lands are on national laboratories as well, but it is also the single largest threat to water and drought resilience in new mexico as well as our future climate
adaptation and economic security. as was noted in testimony, we are already spending billions of dollars a year at the federal, local, and tribal levels to suppress and fight fires across the west. one of the things i wanted to talk a little bit about today is our forest to science. we focused a lot here on remote sensing, fire weather, warning systems and hazards, but one of the most significant and important ways we can address and mitigate the catastrophic fires is through forest management. we are seeing a lot of incredible partnerships between nonprofit organizations, our national laboratories, who are doing really exciting, complex
modeling around forest dynamics, carbon sequestration, soil, and ways in which we can target our forest treatment. one of the things that is most exciting to me is that he was intimately involved in these activities in what is called the santa fe fire shed program, which is a collaborative of all these different programs. my question is actually for our chief. i wonder if you could talk a little bit about the santa fe irish at efforts and share with us how the science was leveraged and partnerships were leveraged and how we might scale this model across the west. >> i sure can. very much appreciate that question because it is near and very dear to me. the greater santa fe coalition
is a successful collaboration then we were built from the ground up, based on bringing the right people to the table so you get a much better product than a single person or single organization could have come up with. in that coalition, we have 12 levels of government, nonprofits, scientists, people from the lab, and people who do not necessarily agree with what we are doing. we have regular readings about keeping -- regular meetings to talk about keeping our areas safer and prevent the large fires and those things we talked about -- they've got huge destructive potential not only primary effects but secondary and tertiary effects, and anything you can do to toss them
in a smart mind to come up with solutions, i think replication of that across the nation is much in order. thank you for the question. >> i would encourage my colleagues -- i know many in the fire community are familiar with these efforts in new mexico, but it is a really exciting model in the rio grande watershed efforts put into restoring our forests, and they are really a model for the nation. there is a coupled opportunity while we talk about fire mitigation to talk about permanent sequestration. a recent study by the climate alliance passion that reforestation of burn areas has a huge potential to capture carbon, so i really think that is part of the science we need to be introducing into the conversation. with that, i guilt back. thank you very much.
-- with that, i yield back. >> thank you very much. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> i think all of our panelists. i represent a very fire prone section of the western united states, so the prevention of these wildfires is of critical importance to the people i represent, and i know the people in this room share that concern. one of the things i was struck by in the testimony of all of our witnesses is the inadequacy of the current satellite data that we are getting, both in terms of geospatial resolution and temporal resolution, and i had no idea it was still this bad, to be talking about geospatial resolution of a kilometer and temporal resolution of only one or two frames per day. it will clearly not be adequate to generate the kind of wildfire models we need to predict
wildfire behavior, and will certainly not be able to give early warning when new wildfires start. that is what i would like to ask some questions about. i probably could pick any of the panelists, but, dr. mccarty, i was struck by your testimony about this. can you talk a little bit about what the prospects are for improved satellite imagery, if we have anything in the pipeline? maybe in particular, i know we are talking about geostationary satellites mostly, but the state-of-the-art satellite is low-earth orbit satellites which might solve your spatial resolution problems also. is there some prospect we could use some of the assets we have to solve this problem? >> yes, and i thank you for that question. i do think that we have a lot of work going on at nasa, at noaa.
a workshop was held on the ground a few years ago to think about how to incorporate various satellites including low-earth orbit and some of our commercial platforms as well as our open source geostationary to provide better temporal resolution. it is more complicated with spatial resolution because you just kind of have to accept the data as it is, how it was engineered. you just have to take that location and tried to compare something that might be 10 kilometers to something that might be 10 meters in resolution. i have been trying to improve some of our other collaborations that we have open source access
to their platforms and are developing kind of a cross pollination coordination. to be fair, sometimes our satellite systems are developed because they are meeting the needs of the community and not just the fire community. often, they meet to need -- they need to meet agriculture and food security. they need to think about water all of the as well as the atmosphere, so sometimes, what we need for fire will get pushed to the end, or at least the resolution will be downgraded a bit because there are these other components that also need to be captured in the same platform. i do think that noaa's geo xo, which is in collaboration with nasa, is something to develop.
but even that system, which an rfp was issued into an contractor's work selected -- were selected earlier this spring, its highest resolution will be half a kilometer. we need to think about setting an agenda where we want spatial resolution that is helpful both practically and strategically for fire management. with that, i will return to you if you have further questions. >> thank you. i completely agree. i'm horrified that we don't have access to higher resolution than that. as a scientist, i can tell you, there's no way you can create meaningful prediction models based on that. we have all these high-speed aerial assets now for fighting fires. it will be helpful to have real-time information about when the fire started and where, so i'm hopeful congress can help
you resolve this problem and get access to high-resolution data because then we can take that step at the national research foundation. i see my time has expired. i yield back to madam chair. >> thank you. dr. foster is recognized. >> thank you. you say your team has deployed to nearly 40 wildfires in color when you're with specialized equipment and that these tools have provided a lot of insights about how the fires in atmosphere interact with each other on a large scale. back in my district in illinois, last week, we had some tornadoes, and it was amazing when we looked at the data that was available in real time. my wife and i basically got into
a safe area, turned on the tv, and watched the vortex as it moved just over my house. i'm. interested in the technological developments and sensors, particularly cost reduction, that would help us have a much higher density of sensors. in regards to that, the equipment that you deploy, how much does it cost? if you just had to buy another one of those. >> thank you for your question. the radar is a special radar. it is k band, special made. it costs about $100,000, and that is probably relatively low-cost high-resolution radar. these are not super expensive instruments, but to set up a network of them would be
somewhat costly. the advantage of also the lidar is it allows us to look at wind profiles, which is critical in windstorms and understanding the onset of critical wind or fire weather, so there is a need for those. to get back to the surface weather station discussion, california has more surface weather stations than any other place on the planet because of the utilities. they have invested a lot into meteorological data for their modeling. i think we can get the costs down if we build more instruments, or we can use new engineering technologies to build these instruments better and cheaper. there is a way to use it. in addition, we also have the national radar network that we use for wildfire observations as well, so there's a lot we can do. >> one of the things we have to get better at as a nation is making high tech stuff cheaper
in large quantity. i think you might be able to bootstrap this if there was an agreement we would deploy hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of equipment like you deploy all over the country. you might find the cost curve goes down pretty sharply. is there a consensus on the types of data points and collection assets you would want? you mentioned ground-based stations. maybe just more investment in satellites, or maybe more investment in the inventories of all the consumables that are on the ground. is there an agreement in what you would really like, or is that still something under discussion? >> in terms of the fire weather community, we are probably in agreement that we need more atmospheric observations, but we also need to understand what the fire is doing in every instant. one technology coming out is smaller radars that are cheaper that you can put on power poles or utility assets that you can
scan everything. using smaller radars, getting more cost effective could be a really good asset in the future. >> could someone say a little about the collaboration, the state of collaboration, particularly with dod? i don't think i'm giving away any national security secrets to say that we spend a lot of time looking for infrared flares for various reasons. i was just wondering, do you have a roadblock where you say we could give you information, but we don't want the bad guys to know we have this capability, so we won't tell you, or is there really good collaboration in real time when there is a serious fire hazard? >> i can take that from my knowledge. i know there is a fire guard product that maps the fire in real time for fire agencies. the data are not publicly available, but the technology is
there. increasing that technology could be very useful or using that technology for a public framework could be helpful. >> that sounds like it could be a job for congress. the other possible collaboration might be insurance companies. do they look at detailed fire modeling? are they big players in this? >> we are working with some insurance companies now as well as utilities. there is so much investment needed in better understanding the fire problem. insurance companies are definitely interested in the risk for sure. >> thank you. my time is up, and i yield back. >> thank you. mr. webster is recognized. >> thank you, chair. thank you for holding this meeting. chief litzenberg, i had a question about -- you mentioned some items or fields of oak us in your report -- fields of
focus in your report. things like remote sensors, fire mapping, is like that. which of those would be the highest priority? >> thanks for that question. it is a tough one for me to answer because in my view, all of these are somewhat related. if you are asking for a priority, it is a difficult one. i can say that the creation of sensing networks -- i will go back to the discussion i had a few minutes ago. part of the success of the fire coalition is a lot of viewpoints. to me, you get a better view when you get a lot of viewpoints. the more we create a sensor network that is both ground based and integrated and gives
us real time mapping, that is an asset, but it falls into some of the other priorities like putting that data into single, usable bites where all levels of government are using the data to create situational awareness in real time for boots on the ground, and ultimately, a network of communication that links all of these priorities together. it is hard for me to prioritize because they all work together, but that is how i would do so since you asked me to do so. >> thank you for that. last week, we had the new nasa administrator. we talked about collaboration and how much is there and how it is working and so forth. he was pretty confident that there was a lot of collaboration in the areas of hurricane
tracking and firefighting, forests, and so forth. my question would be this whole idea of remote sensing. are there -- should there be or are there already ways where that information is being coordinated and communicated to local and state foresters in communities to improve prevention of and also maybe mitigation in the area of forest fires? do you know anything about that? >> congressman, i can give you my opinion from being someone at the local level. i have always had the impression that the data exists and should be reachable, and in places where there are good relationships, it often is, but it is dependent on
relationships. there are places nationally we have referenced where integration is happening, i think it is happening well and thoroughly, but it is not always getting down to the community level where decisions can be made appropriately, and that is potentially a huge place for future improvements. >> it is something we will have to work on. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. mr. sherman of california is recognized.
>> there's a lot of work within fia where we are learning what the conditions are, what the state of our forest is so we can better address the issue that is there. it is one of those things that is kind of an unsung hero, providing us a lot of long-standing data and information related to how our forests and landscapes have changed over time. it is ongoing beneath the surface and does not get a lot notice from those of us outside the community, but making sure we have effective funding for forest inventory and analysis and then programs like the joint fire scientist program that helps coordinate research. >> thank you. firefighters and emergency officials -- dr. clements, you
indicated how they and community leaders can struggle with disaster management. wildfire season is increasingly becoming year-round. our firefighters are being asked to work impossible hours in hazardous conditions. dr. clements, how can we better use scientific modeling and the enormous amount of data that have been collected to better predict the number of firefighting personnel that we will need. >> thank you for your question, congressman. it is a difficult question. what we can do in the future is using some of these state-of-the-art fire prediction models to look at what we should expect, how big these fires will be, given changes in wind, temperature, and fuel. that can give us an idea of what resources and suppression needs will be required in the future, but one way is use some of these
new models to look at high resolution to look at what some of those needs could be in the future. >> thank you. i also wanted to thank the appropriations subcommittee for funding a project or recommending the funding of a project in my district to replace invasive and highly flammable shrubs with native and fire resistant shrubs in the area of the -- like in the area of the saddle ridge fires we have suffered in recent years. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. dr. byrd is recognized. >> thank you madam chair and member lucas for holding this hearing. i always learn something in this committee, so i appreciate the
professionalism and expertise of our guests, and i thank them for being here today. my questions are going to be tucci listen berg -- two chief -- to chief litzenberg. you highlighted that the collaboration with local fire departments in research and nasa needs to further grow to improve the nation's wildfire response. then you all of that with a future focus in this matter such as remote sensing, fire mapping, and others. in that context, i want to extend my question to be -- how can we use these tools that you mentioned to really increase the active forest management and the
implementation of fuel treatments? i think those have a real impact on being able to prevent many of these wildfires. with that, chief, if you would care to comment, i would appreciate that. >> thanks for the question, congressman. i will view my perspective again . i think my perspective is probably shared. i said it a few minutes ago and i will say it again -- i do believe that there is a lot of data being created, and a lot of smart people, many of whom are here today, who are doing great things. often, the missing link is how i as a community responder or fire chief give that data in a place that is usable and then use it to dupe prevention and
mitigation primarily. i often look at communities as an organism, much like a human, and if you look at your body over the years, you have counted on someone to get data about you, if it's getting brain scans when you have a headache, looking at your heart when you have chest pains, evaluating your blood. you have somebody looking at those data points and gives you a recommendation. what do you do about that in terms of prevention to make sure the ultimate effect is not catastrophic on your body? in my opinion, communities are the same thing. there is somebody or a committee or group or organization much like a doctor who is telling me what do i do with that data, how i can make
it takes an environment where we discuss what the end goals should be. a lot of our organizations are essentially working on their own and discovering things. if that leads to sometimes reinventing wheels and to a point of getting to some location and to a point where how this can be used, collected, analyzed, and sent out and communicated is absolutely critical. >> thank you very much. i'm out of time, so i yield back. >> thank you very much.
>> thank you, madam chair, very much. fascinating stuff. i would like to start with dr. mccarty. we have heard an awful lot about the commercial remote sensor industries, but the hearing also identified questions about commercial data transparency, accessibility, license restrictions. what are your perspectives on the operations and challenges of commercial remote sensing data sets and wildfire research? >> thank you for that question. commercial data is proprietary.
they must be in the regions in which projects i have tentatively applied for have been selected. i was on the nasa side of a partnership with noaa. i was able to look at commercial data sets and am able to look at commercial data sets, but if i wanted to expand that to other states where we did not fly, that would not necessarily be permitted. i would need to go back and request and ask why. i would also say that the commercial data is definitely an add-on. it is one of those projects we want to include. it requires a high level of computer science and data encoding skills. our products are often some of
the best in the world, and our commercial data centers are not quite there, but that is not necessarily their business model, so they have not been given the right incentive to develop those products. they would be something that would fill in that gap if we want multiple daily inventory, but to really get at some of the fire weather, you need something like a geostationary system where you are getting something every five minutes to half-hour. >> it seems that fire science has changed an awful lot since i was a kid. back then, -- later on, i served for a number of years on the house natural resources committee where some of my friends were like, we need to do much more forestry because we
have to clear out all the trees, and then you had talk about raking the forests in norway. i know you have projects with prescribed fires, but is there a larger scientific sense of how best to manage forests yet with respect to fires? >> we have, i would say, a coalescing convergence. science is frustratingly like that. there is always more to know. many of our natural areas are adapted to fire. to function, they must burn. the fire will come. prescribed burning is one of the forest management techniques -- like you were saying, there were no fires.
that's because there was active fire management. there is now a fire deficit where many of our wildlife areas are not having enough fires, and that is where we talk about prescribed burning. we have some areas that are burning too much. it becomes very complex -- what i like to call a patchwork quilt of what the ecosystem really looks like, so management and science has to view this complexity, and that includes our fuel system. back to you. >> chief litzenberg, do you have anything to add in the last 20 seconds? >> i think that was a solid answer, and i have nothing
significant to add. i look over to the science continuing to evolve. >> thank you, and the gentleman from texas, mr. weber, is recognized. >> this would be for mr. clements to start with. the state with the most fires -- is that data readily available? >> yeah, the data are nationally compiled, so it can be easily accessed generally. >> did i understand in your exchange with bill foster that -- i thought you said the data was not given. what data was that? do you remember that exchange? >> no. >> ok, then i will go to mr. geisler. you had a discussion with daniel webster. do we have enough interagency interaction, and as for someone who tracks that and how successful that has been the? >> we have exceptional
interagency cooperation at both the national, regional, and state levels. we have a lot of operation among state foresters and emergency managers on how we can improve this, along with our federal partners. that collaboration revolves around the national interagency center, and we try to go through what is an ongoing, continuous improvement kind of cycle with relation to that. all of these arenas that are in place, in fact, if it's master agreements between federal agencies and states or state to local agreements all have some form of an assessment piece involved whereby we take a look at how it is working. >> has there been discussion
about if you widen the rights of ways in some of these heavily forested areas, that that would there is a lot of work that with either texas and community wildfire preparedness planning where you take a look at a community and find a way to mitigate the risk to the community as well as the risk of the natural resources around it. those are part of a process that is utilized that we try to get done before the fire gets accomplished. texas has an excellent program utilized for those discussions. a lot of this occurs across the united states and all levels of government.
within the local communities, private citizens --a lot of it involves getting a framework of how to get it done. that is where a lot of funding and research could be utilized on the social sciences side of how to get this information understood and accepted by the public as well as funding on process to get the things done. there is a place where we need to accelerate. that is one place you could point to. >> what state would you say has the most wildfires? mr. geissler: [laughter] the last time the we chat, -- we checked, california. all of that information is really available through the national interagency center as we report on fires through the
systems. >> follow-up question to that, would most of those fires have been caused to utility companies? one of the questions i had. we talked about insurance companies who were interested, energy companies interested -- power companies interested. maybe the utility companies sparking together -- is that a major cause of california's fires? mr. litzenberg: the major cause is humans. we do dangerous things like letting campfires -- smokey the bear message we talked about earlier still applies to this -- and the cause of that you're talking about --i'm not going to
deny we have equipment sparking with utilities that we are working with the until it is -- utilities to figure out ways to minimize the risk out there. if you ask for the biggest cause you and i essentially. >> are you saying this world would be better if it weren't for the humans? mr. geissler: [laughter] i think those being better aware of what we can do to prevent that would be a much better place. sometimes we do not think about what we are doing. it takes simple awareness to really make us take that abstruse that. most people do not realize they can set a fire that easily until it happens. we want them to understand and everybody to understand the risk you are taking and how you can help us. mr. weber: i appreciate it.
i yield back. >> jerry mcnerney is recognized. mr. mcnerney: thank you to the people in the western part of the country. i will proceed. dr. clements, thank you again. you mentioned we need more coupling of ecological conditions and general fire behavior to fight climate changes impact on modern wildfire dynamics. can you elaborate more on how federal science agencies can be helpful in promoting this type of research? dr. clements: thank you for your question. a lot of this -- these models are becoming operational. they are not national.
they are very high -- they take a lot of high computing resources. supercomputing centers are what you need. it's not they can't be done but you need the resources so finding centers to do that or funding teens to run those models for regions operationally would be probably the best way to invest into getting those models operational. >> the federal science agencies have a limit on what the federal agencies that coordinate federal prior response. how would you recommend agencies be better incorporated into fired -- wildfire response efforts? mr. litzenberg: thanks for that question. i believe the best way to be integrated is to use existing mechanisms. there are mechanisms used successfully and perhaps they could be improved in this avenue
but they are already there. the joint fire science program is one taking science and putting it in a place that is usable to practitioners. the leadership councilp and the national interagency fir places where integration is occurring and all we need to do is put focus on new and existing research and how it can be used in applied toward emerging issues. >> thank you. in your testimony, you talk about the importance and difficulty of collecting data on wildfire. >> like i mentioned before, we could deploy more resources right now you'd the national weather sore -- service has a meteorologist program.
over 50 go to active wildfires around the country. they can request service weather stations but it takes a while to get them in place. they have to be driven from a location and set up in the field. we could potentially have other types of technology -- when profilers, doppler radar networks that can be deployed rapidly for storm chasing or through teams that are already established with the command team or the fire incident. i think the federal government could play a big role. it is like hurricanes. we have that aircraft to collect the data but we do not have that for wildfire. it is the same type of information we need to better model and predict what the fire will do and how the atmosphere is laying a row. mr. mcnerney: i would imagine standardization would be helpful. yes dr. clements:, particularly
some of the remote sensing data. a lot of the data is saturated so it means you're not getting an accurate temperature or seeing what the fire is doing. it is a blob. having better data standards would be important for what we have currently. mr. mcnerney: with my colleague mr. gonzalez, i am interested in how ai can be used in wildfire responses. chief letson burke, can you respond? -- chief litzenberg. mr. litzenberg: anything we can use to create information in a usable fashion for those of us who are doing boots on the ground work is a bonus. if that includes the use of ai, we are in.
that is something that should be explored into the future. mr. mcnerney: thank you. i yield back. mr. johnson: mr. gonzales is recognized. mr. gonzales? -- mr. gonzales: thank you for sharing your perspectives. i want to start with you and talk about spatial patterning. i would like to get your thoughts on this. new research indicates spatial matters are more fire resistant than those uniformly or evenly spaced. should we be encouraging more managers to adopt spatial reforestation or is more research required? mr. geissler: thank you for the question. i am not as familiar as a research -- with the research lately that has come out. i can tell you from a managers perspective that obviously changing the spatial
relationship among dems or trees in a forest obviously changes fire behavior characteristics. along the same lines, i know in our southern states were we do a lot of culture related to plantation forestry, those have created issues in the past because of the nature of the change in fuel spread. i would have to do more research to give you a solid answer on that. i am willing to follow up with you on that. mr. gonzalez: mime question was how can agencies in zip -- assist in this effort? i turn it back to you. we need more research on it. i will let you answer. mr. geissler: this type of research comes out of modernization of fuel profiles in general, whether it be spatial changes between trees or the removal of fuel and
prevented related to that -- all of that stuff are items that foresters and national -- natural research managers are looking at from the standpoint of fire management and from health and resiliency. insects and disease, also. increasing and improving the research availability is always important as well as i am going to tie back to the making of that research and information available to the practitioners on the ground. sometimes that requires more of a social scientist to come up with how to get that but i agree more work is needed. mr. gonzalez: somewhat related question, perhaps.
the united states is the only country dealing with wildfires. how is this managed in other parts of the world that we should be applying to how we deal with wildfires in the u.s.? mr. geissler: there is sharing along those lines that allows even with my own state, we partner with our fellow firefighters in british columbia, saskatchewan, and others on the canadian side as we share resources across the border all the time. there is obviously a discussion of the tools we use, everything from how we manage our firefighter safety to the tactics we are utilizing. you obviously should have heard of where we bring firefighters from other countries and even other services have gone to other countries like australia. three all of those -- through all of those we have one of the
file -- foundational elements within the firefighter communicate -- comunity. there are centers that help to disseminate this information. the experience of getting the right people in the room with a shared experience, you get a lot of people talking about the same thing and can come up with amazing ideas, and we have made changes to our systems and tweaked our processes to get better just because of the experiences we have had with our fellow firefighters from other countries. mr. gonzalez: that is helpful. i appreciate your testimony. mr. johnson: the gentleman yields back. mr. cason is recognized. mr. casten: i would like to start with you. one of the things that has struck me is the hardest thing
to deal with on climate change sociologically is we do a bad job of accelerating trends. obviously, that contributes to the increasing numbers and severity of wildfires we have seen. if you look just at wildfire science, you try to predict what will happen over the next five to 10 years. are there major feedback loops making it worse with respect to wildfire science we should be thinking of on the expectation we are not anticipating them while either? >> thank you for your question. in terms of climate change and feedback loops, as we change --the environment gets warmer, we will change our landscape so that can impact may be for the better at times. different types of fuel structures so we can convert
forest to grasslands and that could lessen the extreme fire. it could make it more ignitable. there are the facts. it's not my expertise. i could look into that more and get back to you but one thing we should consider in terms of climate change is these trends, the predictions are -- we have to look at attribution. what is really causing these things? we know it is climate change and force management and weather. we can put more sides it defied to dig with those attributions are. we can use climate scenarios. that can be one way to diagnose it. mr. casten: i need two more questions. dr. mccarty, you had mentioned
we are seeing wildfires in places like the smoky mountains that we hadn't brought about before. are there areas were types of fires you think are going to be more likely in the future that we need to prepare for? dr. mccarty: thank you for that question. the asbestos forest is now the eastern forest. it was not true that they would not burn. they have a longer fire return. we expect that to come harder, particularly in the upland area. the fires will increase. this is a wildlife question. we have had people to move to nashville, -- asheville, knoxville, parts of west virginia and pennsylvania. we will see more fires. the other thing to think about,
total acres burned, the state with the most wildfires is alaska. alaska is a state we need to have on our minds as scientists because we will see more arctic fires. those fire regimes are accelerating and we will see more of our organic carbon soil burn and burn through the winter. that's a continuation of fire season. that is a different type of fire management and i think the alaska for service and fire exploration is a professional and outstanding group and they are trying to figure out how this works. these new challenges. thank you. mr. casten: last question is for any of you who feel comfortable answering. it is beyond this committee. a fed governor said the scientific --
she noted more than 70% of the losses from natural disasters are uninsured and warned of the potential to create abrupt repricing events. i spent a lot of time on this committee thinking about how our financial system is stressed from this and we have had conversations about if you were an investor in pg&e you may feel that directly. if you think about where there are big exposures to private capital from wildfires, any major concerns in this area? this is a more financial question but you cannot separate that from sides. they are linked. anybody want to comment? dr. mccarty: maybe the thing we should think about is a lot of americans, their capital is in home ownership. many of our western and eastern
states and midwestern states, as they become more fire prone it, the likelihood you lose your home or it becomes uninsurable increases. that is just a huge loss for private capital and you can only imagine what that would do to our economy in gdp and the health of our population. that is something that is hard to predict and imagine for the future that is a direct theft mr. casten: -- financial loss. mr. casten:mr. casten: i am out of time and your back. >> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate you recognizing me. i appreciate the chair holding this hearing. thanks to the witnesses. i come from michigan. northern part of my district is home to the huron forest. it is 737 plus acres over 70 miles.
it is named after a native american tribe local to our region. the forest landscape is highly prone to seasonal fires, dominated by jack pines which are highly file mobile. -- flammables. pinecones from those jack pines contain seeds only open as a result of a fire. the curtain worbler, a great little songbird, only breeds in those young jack pines. as a result of logging in the forest and the habitat was nearly completely destroyed. that bird was almost completely extinct. 50 years later, due to burns, and the protectant's put in place by the law, the warbler was removed from the endangered species list. now, each year, literally
thousands of tourists come to that part of rural michigan to see the kirtland warbler. it is not just a little bird. it is an important part of what makes that place so interesting and attractive. two people who come from all over the country just to see that rare bird. so in the forest, we have to have these prescribed burns to maintain and control wildfires. this year is part of a prescribed burn. an uncontrollable firebird doubt -- broke out and burned 5000 acres. climate change has contributed to these fires and the climate change, the air is less humid and the forest is dryer. it makes it harder to control these controled burns. thankfully no peoples structures were damaged but this is the threat we face. i guess i would ask the
panelists, mr. geissler, and chief litzenberg, four cop -- forest across the country, as climate change increases the intensity of weather, what should we do with the usages to make sure we contain control of these fires and avoid a controlled burn getting out of control like the one we saw in the huron forest? go ahead, mr. geissler. you want to start? mr. geissler: what i was going to let you know is the idea of the jackpine situation, a lot of that revolves around the need for replacement fires to truly manage the landscape which we do not do because of the risk
when you have prescribed burns. that is why a lot of what you're seeing and the type of work being done is more cyclical and maintaining the trees at different stages. one piece i wanted to make sure it was understood is when a prescribed burn is planned, a plan is developed. it not only gives the objectives of how the burn will be occurring and what the end result needs to be, it is usually very specific on humidity, wind direction, wind speed and other. a lot of this, like you said, is making sure we do good planning and follow the plan exactly and if there are issues, even if they are minor, in addition to that, a lot of the research we have talked about throughout this hearing, i have helped to see those plans in the knowledge we have to sell them. i wanted to bring up how
prescribed burns can be done in these provisional researched information. mr. litzenberg: what you just described is the social phenomenon we call fire adaptations. it has an effect in our ecologies. hundreds of years ago we decided to suppress everything and all of a sudden we have a bigger issue than the past. we are realizing you have to control these fuels and rest. it is healthier for forest. the more we can get information about fuel and about weather to use for our planning, the better our planning would be. i will say one last thing -- luckily, our organizations have evolved, as well. the signs that our organizations are using are getting better. continuing to invest in those organizations and our workforces cannot be overstated.
mr. kildee: thank you for the extra time. i your back. mr. johnson: gentleman yields back. >> thank you, madam chair. i appreciate it. thank you for this very interesting, informative hearing. the recent extreme heat in the pacific northwest is concerning for many reasons. not the least of which is the safety and health of the community. it is deeply troubling we are seeing such a mix of limited water, dryland, and high temperatures this early in the summer. i know i am not saying anything you don't know. the importance needs to be highlighted about our scientific enterprise in informing us of climate risk and climate related disasters. the u.s. has a number of
satellite-based platforms that provide useful data for wildland fire sides but we also rely on assets from european and other international partners. dr. mccarty, i am interested to know which are relevant for an international data coordinated with united states data? how can we further utilize available international data? dr. mccarty: i will say i am not at nasa headquarters. some of this i cannot speak to. i will try to reply in writing. there are high-level interactions between nasa hq, esa, and other space agencies. our researchers on the ground, including places like the u.s. forest, technology and applications center in salt lake city try to utilize sentinel
products, sentinel 2 which is higher simple resolution. some of our synthetic radar data, the 10 meter resolution from esa, are being implicated to do fire monitoring and detection and also better mapping. fuel conditions, including things like soil moisture and fuel moisture conditions. their research community, these products are being developed and put forward to some federal operational centers. of course, the more we can do that process, the better the data is for our agency and our firefighters. ms. wild: chief letson berg, can you go -- litzenberg, can you go
into more detail about the richter scale for earthquakes, the one that is similar? i am interested in how it would be beneficial for firefighters in the public. mr. litzenberg: i can. thank you for the question. like the hurricane wind scale, we can assess the stress of wildland fire. this would require u.s. forest service and the department of interior and state, tribal, territorial, and local officials. it would provide a standardized system to let communities and responders know what type of resources might be required, respond to a fire, what actions should be taken, such as sheltering in place or evacuating. a lot of catastrophic issues we have seen during fires are in the movement of people. for all of us, that is the
number one value. the more we communicate with people what to expect, the better our response will be. ms. wild: dr. mccarty, did you want to comment? dr. mccarty: i think this is a great idea. often our far system is dangerous -- deemed a hard center. it looks like a rainbow speedometer. we would need that. there is a lot of social science and public health research including research that can help implement social warning systems so it communicates a right thing to people on the ground. so that is not causing problems for firefighters. ms. wild: thank you. i yield back. mr. johnson: gentlelady yields back. mr. perlmutter is recognized. mr. premodern: -- mr. paul
moderate -- mr. perlmutter: to dr. mccarty and chief letson berg, -- litzenberg, talking about coordinating with europeans and the canadians, what steps have been taken -- you said that noah is -- noaa is years away from monitoring these fires with satellites can we monitor it with military assets and intelligence assets? sometimes in colorado we had big fires and had to call in the national guard to assist the firefighters. can we call in some of our space assets if either of you have heard about that? dr. mccarty: i would like to
defer to dr. clements because he has worked with the data. i have not in my lap. i know about it. would you like to comment on that, dr. clements? dr. clements: i have not been able to work with the data because it is not available for the research community. i have seen examples and that is all i know. when we do that, we know it is there. we know the analysts are getting access. it is available but i have not been able to work with those data. mr. perlmutter: chief litzenberg, have you had any of the experience -- any experience using other assets that we might have available through the military or intelligence community? mr. litzenberg: i have not personally had a lot of experience with that but i will add to what dr. clements just said. a lot of what is available when it is available is when large management teams are insights.
the vast majority of incidents across the nation -- of arts into the management team has not put in --a large management team has not been put in place. the more we can get that information that is usable, the better we will be. it is mostly local responders. mr. perlmutter: let me ask this question. dr. mccarty or to any of the panelists. last year, one of our fires, the east troublesome fire, the secon d largest ever, --the thing that was most disturbing about it, it was growing about 4,000-5,000 acres per day and grew by 120 thousand acres. we lost some lives and it was in part of rocky mountain national
park near grand lake. how can we use science to predict when there is going to be an explosion like that in terms of fighting wildfires? dr. mccarty: my quick answer is in addition to the models that dr. clements has mentioned, we do need better higher resolution such as fuel mapping but fuel conditions down to the hour. this can be used by incident command and that would tell us where we would see these types of explosive forest fires. again, mr. geissler has mentioned working with rich columbia who had a similar situation in 2017. the canadian services are working toward the similar process. i will defer. mr. perlmutter: mr. geisler, could you explain your experience? mr. geissler: as we have said,
there are a number of monitoring systems that are looking at fuels and other predictive data to give us that heads up. the measurements that representative lucas talk about has fueled data in real-time. that is a part of it. we were able to look at the moisture content and fuel typing at all of the sites across the entire state at any given moment. it allows the fire manager to anticipate. in this past year, we had winds which took us from a slow fire season to our historic fire season in a couple of days. a lot of that came to we knew -- when the wind was ongoing to have that ongoing realization of changes would have been another system. there are various systems in
place that allow this prediction to go but they do not have the coverage to give a national or regional picture. they are highly isolated at this point. mr. perlmutter: thank you. my time has expired. mr. johnson: the gentleman yields back. we have no additional members available to ask questions so before we close, i want to thank the witnesses for the time they spent with us today. their expertise. their testimony. it has been enormously helpful to us as we think about what further steps we should take care in the science committee. the record will remain open for two weeks for additional statements from members or any additional questions the committee may ask. we ask them if you could please answer the questions within that two week. . we would be enormously grateful.