Tag: Wildfires

Using Census Data to Analyze Community Wildfire Damage

Using Census Data to Analyze Community Wildfire Damage

Using Census Data to Analyze Community Wildfire Damage

08/06/20

“How can we use census data to analyze the extent that a community has been damaged by wildfire?”

 

A single wildfire can destroy entire towns. Even if only minor damage occurs, then a mass migration away from the municipality. This numerical change will be recorded in census data, which means that we can Use Census Data to Analyze Community Wildfire Damage. The best way to do so would be to find the one-year estimates before and after the event and measure the difference.

Why Areas With More Humid Weather Have Fewer Fires

Why Areas With More Humid Weather Have Fewer Fires

Why Areas With More Humid Weather Have Fewer Fires

08/01/20

“Why is it that areas with more humidity have fewer wildfires?”

 

The more humid an area is, the more that flora will take moisture from it. If an area has sufficient humidity, then the moisture received can stave off fire susceptibility, therefore leading to a smaller chance of wildfire ignition and fuel spread. This is Why Areas With More Humid Weather Have Fewer Fires.

Wildfire Damage and Class Inequality

Wildfire Damage and Class Inequality

Wildfire Damage and Class Inequality

07/05/20

“Why is it that wildfire damage affects lower-income communities much more?”

 

Building damage from wildfires is a common occurrence when they close in on a populated area. However, people from lower-income backgrounds are more likely to not possess wildfire insurance and have subpar housing units, making them much more liable when a wildfire strikes. This is why there is a connection between Wildfire Damage and Class Inequality.

Why Seniors Need to Be Accounted for in Wildfire Evacuation Planning

Why Seniors Need to Be Accounted for in Wildfire Evacuation Planning

Why Seniors Need to Be Accounted for in Wildfire Evacuation Planning

07/03/20

“Why do wildfire emergency planners need to consider seniors in their design?”

 

When wildfires break out, senior citizens have a much more difficult time evacuating the area. They may have mobility impairments and other disabilities that make things so difficult. If evacuation plans don’t have any special consideration for senior citizens, then they may perish at a much higher rate. This is Why Seniors Need to Be Accounted for in Wildfire Evacuation Planning.

Why Misreporting Grid Repairs Can Cause Wildfires

Why Misreporting Grid Repairs Can Cause Wildfires

Why Misreporting Grid Repairs Can Cause Wildfires

07/02/20

“How can misreporting grid repairs cause wildfires?”

 

Reporting grid repairs is one of the paramount duties of any electric utility. However, if none happen and the utility lies about it saying they did, then the grid can go into a state of disrepair. If this happens continually for long enough, then major breakdowns can occur, and if these happen at critical times (as in the case of the Paradise Fire) then a wildfire can occur. This is Why Misreporting Grid Repairs Can Cause Wildfires.

Why the 100% Affordable Housing Project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue in San Mateo Would Increase the City’s Climate Resilience Capacity

Why the 100% Affordable Housing Project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue in San Mateo Would Increase the City’s Climate Resilience Capacity

On April 28th, 2020, the City of San Mateo Planning Commission held an online study session looking for community feedback on a proposed project that would bring 225 affordable housing units to the downtown area. I wrote a letter explaining why the project would increase the city’s resilience capacity towards climate change.

 

To the City and Community of San Mateo, 

My name is Isaac Gendler. I am a Housing-Climate Resilience Researcher whose work is focused on the San Francisco Bay Area. It has recently come to my attention that Downtown San Mateo may soon be a host to a 100% affordable unit project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue. The geographical positioning of the venture would simultaneously make the city a more just, equitable, and climate-resilient place to live for all.

According to Zillow, the median home value in San Mateo is $1,467,184 and the median rent is $3,357. Given that the minimum wage of the city is $15.38, the cost of living is simply out of reach for many people who would be potential upstanding residents. If the proposed project is constructed according to its current specifications, it will contain 225 units of 100% affordable housing, half of which are designated as low and extremely-low income units. This will allow workers and their families of all backgrounds to enjoy the full benefits of living in the city. A city with ample greenery, clean air, and the most comfortable weather in the world.

Not only would this project provide a phenomenal quality of life and a plethora of economic opportunities for these potential residents, but also insulate them from the effects of climate change. If constructed, this project would provide dense transit-oriented housing in a location that would be safe from the ill effects of sea-level rise. In fact, even the most dire climate models predict that by the year 2100 the site will not be negatively impacted. It would also be a secure distance from the wildland-urban interface, ensuring that residents would be spared from wildfires. The units will be constructed to the most current building codes guaranteeing a safe indoor environment to counteract a hazardous outdoor environment, such as wildfire smoke or a global pandemic.  

It is understandable that some residents are concerned and hesitant about these changes. The height of the buildings is above the average San Mateo home, and the architecture may be seen as unfamiliar. However, at this moment we must consider what San Mateo could lose if this project is downsized or even terminated. The city would lose residents to other towns that will most likely not have access to the same level of provided services. They may be forced to super commute over an hour to work, leading to great financial, psychological, and physiological stress.  If San Mateo strives to be a champion of equity and environmental management, this project would be a pragmatic and forward-thinking avenue to pursue.

I endorse this project for the economic and environmental benefits it will bring to both the current and future community of San Mateo. Maps of the project’s positioning against sea-level rise and wildfires can be seen below.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

SignatureSmall

 

 

 

SeaLevelRise.JPG

200 cm sea-level rise map of San Mateo. The location of the project can be seen on the yellow pointer. Mapping courtesy of Our Coast, Our Future (link). 

Wildfire.JPG

Wildland-Urban Interface map of San Mateo. The location of the project can be seen on the black dot. Mapping courtesy of Los Padres ForestWatch (link). 

 

Header image credit https://www.cityofsanmateo.org/

Why a Complete Drought Might Stop Wildfires

Why a Complete Drought Might Stop Wildfires

Why a Complete Drought Might Stop Wildfires

04/30/20

“Why might a complete drought stop wildfires?”

 

Northern California’s wildfire potential is caused by the early rains creating a wildlife bloom and bone-dry Summer making it all brittle. However, if there was a complete drought with absolutely no rainfall all year round, then there would no vegetation, turning the area into a wildfire-free desert environment. This is Why a Complete Drought Might Stop Wildfires.

Wildfire Simulation

Wildfire Simulation

Wildfire Simulation

04/29/20

“How can we simulate wildfires?”

 

Wildfires can cause damage in often unpredictable ways. In order to add a deeper level of risk analysis to this, Wildfires Simulations can be done to compute what a possible wildfire would look like. Wildfire simulations can take in aspects such as Wind speed, wind direction, fuel moisture content, fuelscape, ignition location, ignition probability, containment probability, fire duration.

 

Image credit http://www.firelab.org