CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV) - With wildfire season well underway, a team of researchers at Oregon State University is working to build a better understanding of how wildfires behave. They’re specifically studying what are called “firebrands,” basically sparks and embers that can spread fire from one place to another.

The most recent research is funded through a grant from the National Institute of Science and Technology. Researchers at OSU are doing field tests, basically burning a variety of trees and shrubs in a safe place outdoors, and then recording how many firebrands they release and where they spread.

OSU researchers working to understand behavior of wildfires

Image: KPTV

It’s not the first-time firebrands have been studied, but the researchers say they have a bigger volume of data, which makes it more reliable. The hope is they can use the findings from their studies to add data to existing models that predict fire behavior and help firefighters more quickly and efficiently respond to wildfires.

If you’re looking for a recent example of how firebrands can spread fire, they say it’s likely they played some role in last year’s devastating wildfires. During the Eagle Creek fire there was evidence of firebrands that spread four miles, crossing the Columbia River, and starting a new fire on the other side.

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(7) comments


Where do I sign up to get a bunch of money for a study? In this case, common sense is all that is needed to understand fires. No fancy degree or expensive education is necessary.

Lawlessness Brings Destruction

So the surgical targeting of structures, unscathed nearby combustible vegetation, and fire travel that defies the laws of physics has finally caught someone's attention? How about some of the trees burning from the inside out? There is SO much the media is NOT telling about these "wildfires". I can't wait to see what their "findings" are.


"So much the media is NOT telling" What are you even talking about?! TV stations are behind wildfires?! lol log off and go outside, tinfoil.


It starts with forest management.

And that is started by the idiot in Salem.


That is correct! Poorly managed forests burn hotter, faster, more often and more unpredictably than properly maintained ones. WOW and I did not even need a huge waste of money grant! How about we start by removing the idiot in the capital? That would make a huge difference!


Eevilkitty76 I like your thinking...make that love..


Evil ....I can spell

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