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Local wildfire expert says west-coast fires won't be ending anytime soon

Fumiaki Takahashi, a science professor at Case Western Reserve University, is also the head of the Fire Combustion Labratory at CWRU

CLEVELAND — As wildfires rage on the west coast of the United States, one local fire expert is warning that these disasters won't be ending anytime soon. 

Fumiaki Takahashi is a professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering at Case Western Reserve University and the head of the Fire Combustion Laboratory at the Northeast Ohio school. Today, he is addressing the growing wildfire issues in California and Oregon. 

"Climate and growing housing communities in the place where homes and wildlands meet or intermingle, i.e., the wildland-urban interface (WUI), make wildfires catastrophic," Takahashi told 3News, "drought and hot weather make the vegetation (trees and underbrush) dry so that more flammable and high winds, such as the Santa Anna winds and the Diablo winds, flare up the fires more intensely and spread the fires faster." 

Many across the United States have expressed concern over the timeline that's ahead for these fires. Takahashi says that the most concerning part of the wildland fires is not so much timeline, but more so the acreage. 

According to the CWRU professor, the largest and deadliest fire in modern California history destroyed more than 459,000 acres in the time between the end of July and early November. The current fires on the west coast have burned through 746,000 acres. 

Half a million people have evacuated Oregon following the wildfires that recently turned the sky an orange hue.

Fumiaki's latest research- published in Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering- delves into the benefit of wrapping a home in a fire blanket to avoid damage and excess issues. The CWRU professor has also been open in discussing the importance of protecting firefighters respiration systems.


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