Wildfires: scientists mobilize

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Many high-tech devices are the subject of intensive research in France so that firefighters can fight forest fires more effectively. While climate evolution is driving wildfires, the Feux research team, made up of French scientists, is also working to better understand and predict the real-time behavior of mega forest fires.

A consequence of global warming, accompanied by more frequent and intense droughts, thousands of hectares of forest are burned in smoke every year. Ecosystems are devastated, landscapes are destroyed, and our homes sometimes burn down. To better understand how forest fires spread and develop, many French and European scientists have joined the Study Group. “Fires “. The aim of the researchers is to develop artificial intelligence programs allowing firefighters to predict live and on the spot evolution of megafires. But scientists are also mobilizing to develop new technologies that will protect firefighters from the furnace of hell, says Anthony Collin, a research professor at the University of Lorraine.

“The spread of a forest fire is very difficult to model. This is what we scientists call stochastic, which means it involves a lot of random data. For example, regarding the nature of burning vegetation, which varies depending on its geographical location. We also lack knowledge about the various species present that will be affected by the fire. We also face many unknowns about the amount of material at the crash site that our computer models need to process. Moreover, this randomness affects the field of meteorology, requiring information samples of the order of ten meters on the ground.

That is why the Feux research team brings together representatives from various scientific disciplines, such as meteorologists as well as environmentalists, who will have information about the level of water stress of vegetation in the field. The research team includes physicists, chemists as well as mathematicians because all data must be processed statistically to be up to date. Therefore, all areas of science are called upon to help determine an effective fire extinguishing strategy and create reliable computer models of the behavior and development of a forest fire. We also have several scientists doing research on the protection of firefighters who intervene in extreme conditions. For example, helmets that can block heat radiation, as well as new equipment that is resistant to fire and high temperatures. Other areas of research are in firefighters’ equipment, such as fire hoses, to optimize the amount of water, as well as the size of the droplets that would be most efficient to spray to contain a wildfire faster. »

Remember that every second fire is due to human negligence. Poorly controlled agricultural and domestic labor, cigarette butts scattered along the roads and kebabs carried away are the main causes of fires. Not to mention the criminal actions of the arsonists who deliberately set the fire. Since the 1960s, more than 160 firefighters, water bomber pilots, gendarmes and volunteers have died in France.how they tried to save our forests from fire and at the risk of their lives.

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