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Modernizing Wildland Firefighting to Protect Our Firefighters: Report to the President

Dabiri, John O. and Sullivan, Kathryn D. and Carter, Ash and Fung, Inez and Pacala, Steve and Press, William (2023) Modernizing Wildland Firefighting to Protect Our Firefighters: Report to the President. , Washington, DC. (Unpublished)

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The linchpin of our country’s effort to combat wildfires is a dedicated corps of tens of thousands of state and federal wildland firefighters, who risk their lives to defend over 1.5 billion acres of fireprone land in the United States. Thousands of additional local firefighters are also called upon to protect communities at the wildland urban interface, areas that now collectively house nearly one-third of the U.S. population. PCAST aims to identify opportunities for science and technology to make the job of wildland firefighting safer and more effective. Progress in this arena can complement and amplify actions already taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen the firefighting workforce via enhancements to job salary and classification levels5 and the 14% increase in wildland fire suppression and prevention funding included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 23 Omnibus Appropriations Law. Our recommendations highlight immediate needs that can be addressed with existing technology as well as strategic, long-term investments in new science and technology to ensure that our firefighters do not have to face tomorrow’s fires with yesterday’s tools. Forest management and similar long-term investments in wildfire prevention are also critically essential to reducing the burden on firefighters in the future. But technology needed to improve wildfire response is ready to help today. Hence, in this report we have intentionally trained our focus on critical aspects of wildfire response that are stuck — technologically and organizationally — in the last century. Several actions recommended in this report can be taken immediately to support the needs of today’s wildland firefighters and vulnerable communities nationwide, as we also pursue the longer-term actions recommended here that can ensure an enduring focus on wildland firefighting science and technology development for decades to come.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Report)
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URLURL TypeDescription to the President InCaltech News
Dabiri, John O.0000-0002-6722-9008
Sullivan, Kathryn D.0000-0003-3721-788X
Fung, Inez0000-0003-4106-9875
Press, William0000-0003-0771-0841
Additional Information:The members of PCAST wish to thank the staff in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for their various contributions throughout the preparation of this report. PCAST would like to thank Alondra Nelson, Deputy Assistant to the President, formerly Performing the Duties of Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. PCAST also expresses its gratitude to Marc Aidinoff, Kei Koizumi, and Asad Ramzanali in OSTP. We especially thank the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) team, especially Chris Cannizzaro, Matthew Ishimaru, Emily Grumbling, Todd Ringler, and Gifford Wong, for assistance with analyses and the report. Finally, we wish to express a heartfelt thanks to the staff at the Department of Energy, particularly Karen Talamini, who have worked tirelessly in administering PCAST.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230223-203522419
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:119485
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:28 Feb 2023 15:15
Last Modified:28 Feb 2023 15:15

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