How is % contained WRT forest fires calculated?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jay H, Jun 26, 2002.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Is it the circumference of the blaze or total area? How do they define "contained". I'm curious after reading a CNN article about the Arizona fires...

    Jay
     
  2. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Circumference.
    Contained is defined as stopped from spreading in that area, I think (not sure about that though), so 5% contained would mean that they have stopped it from spreading in 5% of the edges of the fire.

    /Mike
     
  3. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    It's area. I've seen a lot of 'em in California's Sierra Nevada.
    Today, the fire service use aerial spotters and/or satellite pictures to calculate the area, usually acreage, that's burning. This can vary from day to day, obviously depending on wind, terrain and other fire-spreading factors.
    So they will report something like a 1550-acre fire, 5 percent contained. Containment involves bulldozing the perimeter and ground crew "hotshots" setting backfires to "contain" the fire boundaries, as well as aerial bombardments.
    Once they think they've got a handle on it, then they'll start using the term "Control," as in 50 percent controlled, while the fire is burning itself out.
    HERE is an interesting link.
     
  4. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    I could have sworn it was circumference, that's what they said on the news at least (then again, they've been wrong before...). I've nbeen trying to find out more about it, but haven't found anything yet. Anyone got any links?

    /Mike
     
  5. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mike, you are correct.

    I just checked with my local U.S. Forest Service District, thru their on-duty Dispatch operator, who said the containment measure is ground circumference.

    ...thanks for persisting....never assume -- I should know better.
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thanks to all of you for that enlightenment!

    It turns out that the fire down in the Pinelands of NJ about a month ago(?) was caused by three teens who had a campfire going to celebrate the 17th birthday of a friend. Thought they put out the fire with some sand and dirt and apparently didn't.

    Jay
     

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