Come Rain or Shine

2020 Fire Season: Grim, Smoky, Flexible

October 07, 2020 USDA Southwest Climate Hub & DOI Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center Season 1 Episode 5
Come Rain or Shine
2020 Fire Season: Grim, Smoky, Flexible
Show Notes Transcript

How would you sum up the 2020 fire season in just one word? Tim Brown, Royce Fontenot, and Megan Friggens share their impressions of the current fire season and discuss their work with pre-fire preparedness, active fire management, and post-fire recovery. They close with sharing some additional thoughts on fire management and response. Want to hear what working with fire is really like? Take a listen to this podcast. URLs for online resources mentioned: After Fire Toolkit; FireCLIME Vulnerability Assessment Tool

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2020 Fire Season: Grim, Smoky, Flexible

Emile Elias: [00:00:00] Welcome to come rain or shine podcast of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub 

Sarah Leroy: [00:00:06] and the Department of Interior Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center or Southwest CASC. I'm Sarah Leroy, science communications coordinator for the Southwest CASC 

Emile Elias: [00:00:17] and I'm Emile Elias, director of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub.

Here, we highlight stories to share the most recent advances in climate science, weather and climate adaptation, and innovative practices to support resilient landscapes and communities. 

Sarah Leroy: [00:00:34] We believe that sharing some of the most forward thinking and creative climate science and adaptation will strengthen our collective ability to respond to even the most challenging impacts of climate change in one of the hottest and driest regions of the world.

Emile Elias: [00:00:49] Hi everyone welcome to Come Rain or Shine. Today we're going to talk about wildfire in the Western United States. We have been experiencing some pretty intense wildfires. We're recording this in early September 2020, which seems to be a pretty devastating fire season across the West. A lot of people have been impacted personally by fires burning across the West.

And as we know, wildfire's a natural part of many ecosystems in the Southwest, and it facilitates things like germination and new seedlings and killing pests that excessive wildfire can permanently alter ecosystem integrity. And according to the fourth national climate assessment, climate change has led to a doubling of the area burned by wildfire in the Western United States.

So today we're speaking with three scientists about wildfire in the West. We have Dr. Tim Brown with us. He's a research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Nevada. He's also the director of the Western Regional Climate Center and a principal investigator with the Southwest CASC. We also have Megan Friggins.

She and I worked together on a post-fire tool. She's a researcher ecologist with the US Forest Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Royce Fontenot is also in Albuquerque with the National Weather Service as a senior service hydrologist and incident meteorologist. So, welcome everyone. Thanks for being here.

And as an icebreaker. It seems like the fire is really affecting many people personally this year. And so, I'd like to ask each of you to share a word or phrase that summarizes the 2020 wildfire season so far for you and why. And we'll start with Megan. 

Megan Friggens: [00:02:45] All right. Well, I would have to say. I think it's grim and I hate to not be positive.

I do have family members that are now evacuated in Oregon. It seems like the season in particular, it's really evident how we're stuck in this reactive mode, trying to, trying to deal with things and barely, or sometimes not keeping up with the damage and the extent of these fires. 

Emile Elias: [00:03:18] Yeah, that grim. That's a good one. Mine was smoky, but it's true. So, Tim a word or phrase that summarizes the season for you and why? 

Tim Brown: [00:03:29] Well, I was going to say smoke. And the reason for that is, well, first of all, here in Reno where I'm at we've had excessive amount of smoke in the air this year. That's impacted a lot of people and kids by closing schools, but the smoke is West-wide.

And so, like this morning, for example, the Bay area continues to be enshrouded in smoke and we've been getting some calls wondering about why this sky is orange. For a lot of these places, even making references, "Hey it looks like Mars outside." So, you know, a smoky one all day long. You can't filter all the light from the sun through and the sky is orange.

Emile Elias: [00:04:27] Absolutely, it's pretty eerie out there across most of the west. So, Royce, the same question to you. A word or phrase for this fire season. 

Royce Fontenot: [00:04:37] So my word for the season would be flexibility. Certainly, this year's has challenges as everyone knows. So, I think, as someone going out and working on wildland fire incidents, certainly flexibility where group had to operate a little bit different this year. And certainly, it's a very active season.

So, something I've learned this year is be flexible. Going out and doing operations that, you gotta be flexible this year, and may not run it how they have in the past. Flexible being adaptable. 

Emile Elias: [00:05:13] Great. Excellent. And spoken like someone who's actually out there in the field trying to cope.

So, let's get into the more of the questions here. To me, it seems like we can divide the wildfire timeframe and our response into three phases. The time before a fire, actions taken during a fire, and then finally, what can be done after a fire. And so, let's start with Tim and talk about what folks are doing in the research and preparation arena around general wildland, fire, climate, and weather connections.

And so, Tim, what are the current research questions that you're interested in or actively investigating around wildfire? And how do you think those investigations might help with future wildfire?

Tim Brown: [00:06:04] Right, so there's four things I can talk about very briefly. One of them is we've noticed over the past couple of decades that the nighttime warming that's taking place and that's directly related to climate change. It appears to be closely linked to pieces of nighttime fire behavior, that is more extreme fire behavior at night. So, we're trying to connect that linkage and understand that better because that helps a direct impact on practical operations for wildland firefighting. Used to be in the old days, fires were laid down more at night because it was cooler and the Windward would call down and would be more moist.

But we're just seeing more days now or more nights of this warming, seems to be impacting fire, or at least fire behavior. The second thing is the fuel flammability itself. This is where we're seeing again with the increased warming, we're seeing increase of upward transpiration.

So increased evaporation from the atmosphere, the ground and increased transpiration from the plants. And so, this is increasing the fuel flammability. So, we'd like to research more detail on that, just to help clarify those are connections between those.

Third thing we're actually working on right now is with the US Forest Service, trying to build some decision support tool. So, the two things I just talked about is kind of from the research side, that would be applied a fire, but on the operational side, we're trying to make connections between all of this smoke production and what that might mean as we live in COVID-19 days, because we know both Covid and smoke is respiratory related. And so we're trying to build decision support, looking at those two pieces and the last thing that's going on that might be more related to Royce in some ways, but we're working with the National Weather Service to see about revamping the red flag warning system. And this is both for the fire management agencies as well as ultimately the public and firefighter and public safety, as well as why we're in fire management resources. So those are the four big, broad highlights at the moment.

Sarah Leroy: [00:09:01] Thanks Tim, that's very helpful. And I want to kind of turn to Royce now and thinking about as an incident meteorologist and being on the ground, could you share what you do with us? You know, how are you notified? Are you out there with the crews? What's your perspective or thoughts regarding needs during the fire?

Royce Fontenot: [00:09:28] Yeah, so a little background. So, what an incident meteorologist is. So, the overwhelming majority are national weather service staff forecasters like myself. There are a few private state ones that go out and support through wildland incident management teams by providing onsite weather forecast, tactical weather forecast, basically.

So we've been doing this since 1928, believe it or not. This started way back when, when land management agencies realized, Hey, maybe these weather guys can help us out here. We've had since 1928, just about 300 of us are certified as meteorologists. Right now. There's about 86 or so ballpark, with about another 15, those trainees.

So, a fairly small group, plus the handful of non-Weather Service I-Met. So, what we do is we provide that onsite support. So how we're notified. So first, you know, wildland fire starts. Depending on what that incident is, that land management agency, that responding fire department or fire agency being, you know, BLM or Forest Service, whoever, we'll start getting forecast information from the National Weather Service.

So, submit what we call a spot forecast, and then the local weather forecast office submits that back. So, wildland fire is driven really by three elements, right. The weather, topography, and fuel. So, we provide the weather part of that, that information. So once the incident gets large enough. They'll start making what's called, and complex enough, an incident management team, and generally there's type three teams, type two teams, and type one. With type one, being the largest, most complex incident, a type three teams typically are fairly small.

It's where they're going into extended attack. It can go, can go along and type groups in the generally there being there with a forecast from the local National Weather Service office, once it starts hitting the type two and definitely the type one, those instances get more complex, that there's more decisions being made.

There's a larger firefighting crew on there. You know, some of these incidents can be 250 people. Some of these instances can be 5,000 firefighters and support staff. So by the time they hit that type two, that larger team is ordered. They start looking at incident meteorologists here in the Southwest, all of our type two teams by default, generally will order an incident meteorologist and nationally a type one. So first the team has to be activated, so that's that land management agency, that responsible fire agency saying this incident has become complex enough. We need to bring in incident management team then at what level? So, we're ordered by the incident manager team.

Sometimes we're on what's called their preorder. So, the second they get notified, they say, we want an IMET (incident meteorologist) that sometimes they wait until they get to the incident. but then we kind of go through the normal ordering system. The Team ask for an IMET through the ordering system. It goes through the National Weather Service.

They get the closest available IMET we're, you know, giving a heads up that, Hey, an IMET is needed and we get the approvals and we go. So, our turnaround times fairly a desire to be on site within 24 hours of the order request. And that's usually less than that. Usually we're on pretty fast. So. What we do.

We work hand in hand, with what's called an FBAN, a fire behavior analyst, who is an experienced firefighter that specializes in fire behavior with that training, advanced training fuels a vast weather training for firefighters. So, their specialty is what is this fire going to do? When we apply this weather condition.

So, we work hand in hand with the FBAN, and then daily forecast and then provide meteorological watch, MET watch for the incident. So, yeah, that's pretty critical. I spent the fires on spin on the summer, over here in the Southwest, have all had thunderstorms at some point on the fire. So. A lot of what we do is that MET watch providing that heads up. Hey, we've got a thunder storm nearby because those things, there's certainly a danger when you've got fire line crews out and on a high peak or out, you know, out where they can't get back to their vehicles.

A thunderstorm outflows or an extreme gust can create extreme fire behavior when you start adding that wind. So, we provide that forecast and that strategic outlook. So that's a lot of what those fire, you know, the fire operations folks make their plans based off of what the weather forecast in combination with the fire behavior forecast.

It's going to do. We're out with the crews we're embedded at the incident management team. We typically work 16-hour days for a typical incident and they're between four-thirty, four-forty-five getting into my office, I'm using air quotes there, but we're at my workstation by five. We're doing briefings things by six, we do good out with the fire crews. We usually go out with the fire behavior analyst as the opportunity comes during the day, because what makes us more unique is, we're physically on the fire, right?

We're not sitting back at the office. You know, we're, we're there we're smelling the smoke or seeing the flames. And more importantly, we're seeing how weather is impacting the fire behavior and also how weather is interacting with the terrain. Often as we know, wildfires are in some pretty rough terrain. So typically we'll run up a 14 day time with an incident management team and we can extend, but generally by 14 days, if the fire is either done or we're looking to do a swap out with another IMET if that fire's continuing.

So, you know, it's pretty busy, it's pretty intense. You know, you're out there, its high stress cause you're having long days. You're going til usually 10 o'clock at night, you've got all forecasts to do. You're doing multiple briefings per day. You're doing media outreach as well.

And any outreach to community meetings, anything that the teams are asking for you often media briefings and such. So, it's pretty active. It's pretty busy. I will say career-wise, I've done quite a bit. And I've been a lot of places, one of the most rewarding things I've done in my career. So, it's busy, but it's worth it. And what we need, you know, perspective and thoughts that we need during the fire. Certainly, for us, you know, computing power certainly increased even of what we had over 10 years ago. So continuing data needs continuing meso-scale modeling, and high resolution, very fine modeling, continuing those advances.

 And a lot of that downscaling yeah. And the answers and the research like folks like Tim the DRI are doing, certainly we'll continue to help us out as, as we're getting more and more information. And then how do we translate that information, to something usable? That's, you know, often always a challenge at research operations part.

Then once we get that, translating it to someplace useful so I can implement them, in my forecast. And more importantly, I can translate that to the operational folks and the firefighter on the line of how they can use this and better give them better. Really what we're giving is environmental intelligence, right?

What's going to happen with the weather so they can do their jobs as well. 

Sarah Leroy: [00:17:03] Thanks Royce. So I actually have a follow up question that you just touched on, which is, you know, you're providing environmental and weather information to the fire crews and thinking about what Tim was talking about earlier with this increase in nighttime temperatures.

 I guess a twofold question, which is, you know, what's the weather that you see that fire crews are most interested in, obviously wind's a big one, but do you see nighttime temperatures, you know, starting to play a much bigger role in fighting fires overnight?

Royce Fontenot: [00:17:37] It's certainly part of it, you know, and traditionally it depends on the incident or running the night shift or not depends on the location.

 You know, some, some fire, something know geographically, some, some areas don't get that nighttime recovery. So, when we talk about recovery often here, some, you know, more on the media, we didn't get that great recovery relative to all this coming up. Right. So even if the air mass doesn't change greatly it's amount of moisture on that dewpoint measurement.

If your temperatures fall at night, your RH (relative humidity) falls at night. Well, your temperatures don't fall as much at night. Your RH won't fall as much as night, so certainly something that we're interested in. So, you know, winds, obviously, like you said, are a huge factor for firefighters. Temperatures generally are.  Obviously if you're hotter, you are more likely to have a better burning conditions, burn window in the afternoon, or you're burning period, whenever that is, and relative humidity, higher humidities, some tampered-down fire behavior. So, you know, the actual, the details vary from environment to environment fuels and fire behavior in the Southwest is not the same as is in the Northwest, or same as in Alaska or Florida.

You know, I grew up on the Louisiana Gulf coast. We rarely saw relative humidities down to 25%, certainly in grass fuel environments in the Southwest 25%. It was a, a good RH. It tamps down that fire. So. Those are certain certainly elements that matter. But and then of course thunderstorms, any sort of precipitation.

So, you know, what's critical really depends on each fire because each fire is unique where it is even within the Southwest, are you at a high elevation, like on the Mogollon Rim or Northern New Mexico or you down in the low desert and then mostly Grassland environments. So, it varies, but generally winds, temperatures, relative humidity are the big key factors.

Emile Elias: [00:19:36] Thanks. So, we've spoken with Tim a bit about the research questions and some of those big picture pieces, and then Royce about what happens in the middle of a wildfire. And so now I'd like to ask Megan a bit about post-fire issues. So, Megan, can you tell us a bit about your research and perspective related to post-fire challenges and options?

Megan Friggens: [00:20:01] Yeah, sure. So, I think one of the challenges of post fire issues is that they cover such a wide range of fields and sectors. And so, you have your near-term health issues dealing with the smoke and even the ash, and then the longer-term rehabilitation of the landscapes. And then. Those fire fires affect your ecosystems, but they also have social and economic effects on communities.

And so, the research that deals with those fire effects is really vast. Personally, I work in a couple different ways looking at post-fire environments. One project I was invited to participate in, was developing predictive models for fire effects on archeological sites in the Southwest. And so, the purpose of this, being somewhat to determine what are the environmental characteristics of certain sites that may lend them to be affected more when a wildfire burns through. But also, after a fire, there's these post-fire surveys that are conducted. To determine list of erosion and floods and things like that because the fire itself may have effects on an archeological site and artifact is in there, but a flood or debris flow will destroy these sites.

Right. And so, the risk is very high with them. The other project that I've worked on is the Forest Services After Fire toolkit in the Southwest. And this is very much a web-based tool. That's essentially just gathered together the various methods and processes that are used to assess risks, due to floods and erosions, largely after a fire.

And so there are numerous tools, websites, information out there that are all targeted to different audiences, homeowners, communities who, to be quite honest, really are responsible for the bulk of the long term of recovery from a fire event, right? The agencies are often involved in suppression and an emergency response.

We, after the fire, but those long-term rehabilitative efforts are, are concentrated during those local communities. So you see a lot of resources for that, but at the agency level, like the Forest Service or agencies represented here in this conversation, there are a lot of tools, software programs, models and things like that that are used to estimate risk of flooding after certain rain events and things like that can be useful to other, maybe more local communities or homeowners. And so what these after fire toolkit does is bring these all together and kind of categorize all these different things that you can use to assess your system and point you in the direction of other resources, depending on, on where you come from and who you are.

Sarah Leroy: [00:23:23] Thanks Megan. And we'll include a way to access that tool, in the description for this podcast, everybody can reach it.

I want to open up this question, this next one for everyone, how do you all see fire and or fire related research in responses changing in the future? 

Megan Friggens: [00:23:48] Well, I can, I can chime in on this a little bit. So, I've worked with these after fire toolkits, but I've also worked a little bit with assessments and developing ways to assess which ecosystems might be negatively affected by wildfire.

And as part of that, we have worked with land managers, to conduct case studies using this Southwest Fire Climate Vulnerability Assessment tool. And one of the things that I hear a lot from the folks working on the landscapes is that an ultimate goal is to return fire, to get our systems to a place, and I'm talking about the Southwest where we have a fire adapted ecosystem, to get these ecosystems to the point in vegetation, composition, and structure that you can return fire and use it as a tool to help maintain the landscape. And right now, the situation where either suppressing the fire or the fire is out of control, that that's not sustainable.

And so, if we can get to the place where we can bring natural, productive fire regimes into these systems, that would be helpful, that's probably a long-term goal right? It's far out there. 

Royce Fontenot: [00:25:15] Yeah, this is Royce, I want to chime in on what Megan said. Certainly, a part of my day job as the senior service hydrologist here is dealing with the background of fire with the flooding.

So, I certainly agree. I think the after the fire toolkits, are certainly something we're working, trying to work hand in hand with the other agencies on. And folks becoming aware of how a particularly in the Southwest, how things change and that recovery. And that post burn recovery, certainly from a, a warning perspective in the National Weather Service's very interested in, because I like to say when I'm out folks, the fire itself in the Southwest as a few weeks of the community's life, right? The fire starts. You have the incident management team; you're fighting the fire. You're really beating it; you're getting it into a good place. You can get the fire out, but the damage to the watershed can last for years, decades, it was a standard placement fire.

There could be, you know, and you know, some of our significant fires in the Southwest have actually permanently altered the hydrology. Los Conchas comes to mind. You know, Whitewater-Baldy, comes to mind. So that messaging that, that, you know, helping communities understand that there's a flood risk where there may not have been a flood risk before your property may have never flooded.

You're not near a river in that inner stream, but now you're in a flood risk. So, messaging that and communicating that it's a challenge and working with their land management agencies. Cause like Megan said, it's often on the communities to kind of do this rebuilding and, and that's certainly a challenge we're finding in the agency, certainly in the Western, the rest of the Western United States too, is that post flood risks that post flood risk can go, excuse me, that post fire flood risk, can go for years after.

So, helping prepare a community for not just the fire, but the aftermath of the fire. Certainly, is a challenge moving in. 

Sarah Leroy: [00:27:06] Tim did you have anything you wanted to add? 

Tim Brown: [00:27:09] Yes, I agree that there's a lot of work that could be done to helping build decision support tools, and information for warnings and all kinds of other purposes.

I'm going to take a slightly much bigger overview of this though. If I can. Thinking about we've seen the fire historically the idea that we do well in suppressing 98% of the fires, but there's still the, those 2% of that getaway, the, they become large. It can become destructive, definitely problem fires for management can be highly impactful.

I liken these events to other natural weather when tornadoes hurricanes, floods that the confluence of things just comes together for these events. And so, it's not likely that any time soon anybody's going to be able to get a hundred percent mark of being able to control and extinguish fire. So, what does, what does that mean? I feel like we're stuck in this concept called the cycle of disaster management, which is basically you go through a phase of protection, which is preparedness, mitigation, prediction, and warning, but then the disaster happens and then we do an assessment, we do a response, recovery reconstruction.

And that we start all over again. And this seems to be kind of an endless loop. So as much as the research and activities are important and they're definitely going to add value, but the fire problem is probably more of a, of a political and societal issue than it is a technical kind of issue. So, to me, that's where we really need to go, and from the research side, whatever supports that.

And that includes not just the physical science side, but we need a lot of social science here, as well, to sort of address these issues. So that's my, I guess 30,000 ft. overview page on the problem right now. 

Emile Elias: [00:30:16] I would like to kind of pull us back together. Thanks for mentioning this cycle of disaster management and the political and social issues that we're dealing with.   And also thanks to Megan for mentioning, trying to get to a place, to bring back natural productive fire to a system in a way that doesn't lead to these catastrophic wildfires.

And so this leads me to the next question and I'm going to pose it to Tim first, and that's, really like if you could think of sources of information or resources, looking from that big picture, that big perspective you were talking about around disaster management, and you could wish something into being, so we don't have it now, what would really help in the future around that larger cycle and the societal and political issues?

Tim Brown: [00:31:18] Right, it's a lot that could be done in the mitigation and adaptation arena.

Obviously climate change, you know, this is discussed a lot and so they're very close parallels there, in fire, being able to have communities do more of a mitigation work on, on residential and commercial structures and community overall. I mean, this includes, you know, our state rooms, you know, as well. not saying all that's easy.

It requires a lot to do it, but in the ideal world, I think we were having this and also a recognition that we live in places most places are, are fire prone. So, there's nothing unusual about having fire in the landscapes that we're talking about now, what's become unusual is the magnitude of those fires and the destructiveness, of those fires.

So that's probably yeah, the initial key things there are that I can think of.

Emile Elias: [00:32:41] Thanks, Tim. Any, Megan, or Royce, would you like to weigh in on that question?

Megan Friggens: [00:32:47] Yes. And so, we're talking about what, what would help us get to this point? Right? The things that we would kind of like to see?

Emile Elias: [00:32:57] Yeah. Any sources of information or resources that we don't have now that would really help with that big picture that Tim laid out for us. 

Megan Friggens: [00:33:05] You know, I feel that we have a lot of information and that there's a lot of resources out there in our compiling, the tool kit. You find that there's information, and great direction for the homeowners or getting the communities together, you know, I could list these endlessly, I think.

 And then even these larger collaborative kind of organizations like the Fire Learning Network. Burn area learning network. And I think these ideas are there. And some of this incorporating the social aspects with the, the actual army grounds, you know, the ecosystem level actions, and the ecological focus states. That information and some plans of action are there.

What we're lacking are the resources to implement it. The resources to have folks run and get the community organized and to do what needs to do to influence some of these things, the resources to initiate some of those mitigation activities and, and the preventative activities. It feels to me that we're often under powered and need more folks on the ground. That's kind of what I see, I think. 

Tim Brown: [00:34:38] So Megan, may I ask you as a follow up, do you think this can be, does this need to be like a Manhattan scale kind of effort or is it something to keep working on for or over time. 

Megan Friggens: [00:34:55] Wow, well, I think both of those would be great and I, you know, there's so much, I don't mean to say that we have all the information that we, we need you to talk about some really interesting studies at the beginning of this conversation.

Well, we'll help refine where you know, what we can do and what is going to be most efficient and make most sense in different areas. But I think, I think more, more, more to shift our, our way of managing these things from the reactive to proactive. You see that with climate change too, we want to be proactive and head off the worst of these outcomes. whatever would get us there would be, it would be the solution. And I feel that, you and Royce are a little closer to the ground. I'm often behind my desk looking at things from a perspective. And so, maybe I have some idealistic, idealistic views of, oh if we just put enough resources that we can do it with what we have now, but I do wish that we could be more proactive because that ultimately is the only way we're going to make progress in changing what is going on because even where you see these massive fires, you can get re-burns that are just as severe because of the way the vegetation grows back. Not everywhere, but, definitely we can't continue in this current state or ever, I think, and I have not been affected by the smoke as you all have and it just must be otherworldly right now being in that environment.

So, it really hits home, this is an interesting year, all around. 

Tim Brown: [00:36:52] Well what you just said comes back to the political and social will. Because if you look at the expenditures for suppression versus expenditures for, prevention and preparedness and then, you know, post fire restoration, reevaluation. Its order is a magnitude.

Megan Friggens: [00:37:13] Yeah. Yeah. You're talking about the federal and governmental, you know, investment. I think that if you look at the cost of rehabilitation, is hugely expensive. but that's, that's coming from those local communities. And so maybe that's a whole area of research in that social aspect of this is so critical on some of those larger collaborations.

I think the fire learning network is an example that trying to bring together all of these different sectors, I think are really, really one of our more hopeful avenues of moving forward. 

Sarah Leroy: [00:37:57] Well, thanks everybody. This has been a great conversation. We're about out of time. I just wanted to open it up. And if anybody has some last comments we would like to make before we sign off.

Royce Fontenot: [00:38:11] I think that one thing, you know, there's been a great conversation that we've got going on. I think one thing, you know, both touched on this as was the better phrase to use right now, thing's resiliency, right?   , that's certainly something in the National Weather Service we've been talking about with, you know, weather ready nation,   , sort of initiative is, how to build that, that weather related and if you want to take a fire, that natural disaster weather related, resiliency in your community, preparing folks ahead of time, being prepared for it. You know, knowing what actions to take during it. So, yeah, I think it's that building that resiliency and working on that, certainly the social science aspect was brought up and that's something we're really working on.

Because putting on my, I joke and call my day job, but my hydrologist hat is how do I build that preparedness into a community that you're going to flood, be it from normal flooding or post burn flood, building that resiliency, not just as mitigation, but getting those social science aspects. How do folks, there's a lot of research going on right now in the academic community.

How do we get folks to respond to weather warnings? And if you want to include that as well, factuation notices, how do we, you know, what's the best wording. What's the, even down to the best colors to use, to get actions because all of our, our warnings and our heads up and all these things that the agencies give both, you know, the emergency management and the pre-fire, the post-fire, you know, you've got to get someone to take action on it.

So I think that's a lot of you know, my magic wish going ahead, speaking, probably a little more as hydrologist than incident meteorologist is how do we, how do we get folks to react to those messages that we're putting out be it the pre-event mitigation, for witness severe weather for fire, for flooding, to taking those actions when an emergency manager or the Sheriff's department or responsible local agency says, Hey, it's time to leave to that recovery phase and the threats come through that. So, building that resilience, I think is an important part, and there's a lot of good research going on right now. And certainly, that's becoming almost as important in many ways as the physical science research to better help the predictions.

Sarah Leroy: [00:40:32] Emily and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about fire with us today. Thank you so much.

Emile Elias: [00:40:40] This was really fun! Thank you, thanks for joining.

Royce Fontenot: [00:40:47] Yep, anytime.

Emile Elias: [00:40:47] Thanks for listening to Come Rain or Shine, podcast of the USDA Southwest Climate Hub and the DOI Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center. If you liked this podcast, don't forget to subscribe, like, or follow for more great episodes. If you want more information, have any questions for the speakers or would like to offer feedback, please visit, or Our sincere, thanks to USDA Agricultural Research Service, the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project, and the US Geological Survey for supporting this podcast..