Over the last three decades wildfires in the American West have gotten bigger and more frequent, exacting a significant economic toll. University of Washington’s Harry Podschwit is one of only a few dozen statisticians in the world tackling the question of fire ecology. As one of the newest Northwest Climate Science Graduate Fellows Harry will take a statistically sophisticated approach to modeling megafires that will allow him to compare the relative importance of variables like air temperature, wind speed, and fuel moisture. This new approach may eventually allow him to address management relevant questions such as “Does fire suppression have a statistically significant effect on burn size?” Harry is also working to develop a portable software package that managers can customize to create their own wildfire probability maps. This tool will help stakeholders across the west as they decide how best to manage natural resources in the face of climate change.
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Page Last Updated: April 29, 2014