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Abstract. Topography, weather, and fuels are known factors driving fire behavior, but the degree to which each contributes to the spatial pattern of fire severity under different conditions remains poorly understood. The variability in severity within the boundaries of the 2006 wildfires that burned in the Klamath Mountains, northern California, along with data on burn conditions and new analytical tools, presented an opportunity to evaluate factors influencing fire severity under burning conditions representative of those where management of wildfire for resource benefit is most likely. Fire severity was estimated as the percent change in canopy cover (0–100%) classified from the Relativized differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (RdNBR), and spatial data layers were compiled to determine strength of associations with topography, weather, and variables directly or indirectly linked to fuels, such as vegetation type, number of previous fires, and time since last fire. Detailed fire progressions were used to estimate weather (e.g., temperature, relative humidity, temperature inversions, and solar radiation) at the time of burning. A generalized additive regression model with random effects and an additional spatial term to account for autocorrelation between adjacent locations was fitted to fire severity. In this fire year characterized by the relative absence of extreme fire weather, topographical complexity most strongly influenced severity. Upper- and mid-slopes tended to burn at higher fire severity than lower-slopes. East- and southeast-facing aspects tended to burn at higher severity than other aspects. Vegetation type and fire history were also important predictors of fire severity. Shrub vegetation was more likely to burn at higher severity than mixed hardwood/conifer or hardwood vegetation. As expected, fire severity was positively associated with time since previous fire, but the relationship was non-linear. Of the weather variables analyzed, temperature inversions, common in the complex topography of the Klamath Mountains, showed the strongest association with fire severity. Inversions trapped smoke and had a dampening effect on severity within the landscape underneath the inversion. Understanding the spatial controls on mixed-severity fires allows managers to better plan for future wildfires and aide in the decision making when managing lightning ignitions for resource benefit might be appropriate.

Abstract

Topography, weather, and fuels are known factors driving fire behavior, but the degree towhich each contributes to the spatial pattern of fire severity under different conditions remains poorlyunderstood. The variability in severity within the boundaries of the 2006 wildfires that burned in theKlamath Mountains, northern California, along with data on burn conditions and new analytical tools, presentedan opportunity to evaluate factors influencing fire severity under burning conditions representativeof those where management of wildfire for resource benefit is most likely. Fire severity was estimated asthe percent change in canopy cover (0–100%) classified from the Relativized differenced Normalized BurnRatio (RdNBR), and spatial data layers were compiled to determine strength of associations with topography,weather, and variables directly or indirectly linked to fuels, such as vegetation type, number of previousfires, and time since last fire. Detailed fire progressions were used to estimate weather (e.g.,temperature, relative humidity, temperature inversions, and solar radiation) at the time of burning. A generalizedadditive regression model with random effects and an additional spatial term to account for autocorrelationbetween adjacent locations was fitted to fire severity. In this fire year characterized by therelative absence of extreme fire weather, topographical complexity most strongly influenced severity.Upper- and mid-slopes tended to burn at higher fire severity than lower-slopes. East- and southeast-facingaspects tended to burn at higher severity than other aspects. Vegetation type and fire history were alsoimportant predictors of fire severity. Shrub vegetation was more likely to burn at higher severity thanmixed hardwood/conifer or hardwood vegetation. As expected, fire severity was positively associated withtime since previous fire, but the relationship was non-linear. Of the weather variables analyzed, temperatureinversions, common in the complex topography of the Klamath Mountains, showed the strongestassociation with fire severity. Inversions trapped smoke and had a dampening effect on severity within thelandscape underneath the inversion. Understanding the spatial controls on mixed-severity fires allowsmanagers to better plan for future wildfires and aide in the decision making when managing lightningignitions for resource benefit might be appropriate.

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By Charles C. Roberts, Jr. Ph. D., P.E.

Event data recorders are typically electronic devices that store information received from sensors connected to the device.  An event data recorder is often referred to as a “black box,” a familiar recording device found on many large passenger aircraft. Event data recorders are now being designed into many other products to aid in diagnosing problems that may arise with usage of the product.  Automobiles, electronic panels, alarm systems and some appliances are equipped with event data recorders.  When a loss occurs, it is becoming more likely that some evidentiary information concerning the loss will be recorded on some device.  Typical recorded data may be the time a heat sensor activated in a fire alarm panel, the number of loads handled by a clothes dryer, or the speed of an automobile prior to a collision.  The following three examples illustrate the type of data retained in “black boxes” and their significance.  It should be noted that this article deals with numerical data retained and not visual data retained from the prolific surveillance camera.

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Abstract

Grilling has become part of many celebrations and regular meals. Unfortunately, grilling also causes fires and burns. National estimates of reported fires derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey show that in 2009-2013, grills, hibachis or barbecues were involved in an average of 8,900 home fires per year, including an average of 3,900 structure fires and 5,100 outside or unclassified fires. These 8,900 fires caused annual averages of 10 civilian deaths, 160 reported civilian injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage. Almost all of the losses resulted from structure fires. Five out of six grills involved in reported fires were fueled by gas. The leading causes of grill fires were a failure to clean, having the grill too close to something that could catch fire and leaving the grill unattended. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. In 2014, 8,700 thermal burns involving grills were seen in hospital emergency departments. Roughly three out of five thermal burns were non-fire burns, typically caused by contact with the grill or its contents. Children under five accounted for one-third of the contact burns involving grills.

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Selecting Among Engineer Experts (aka, What Kind of Expert Do I need for This Loss?) JH Nolt June 29, 2017
Do you want your Proctologist doing your Neuro-surgery? They are both licensed MDs aren't they?
Do you want your Wills and Trusts Attorney working on your Subrogation case? They are both licensed Attorneys aren't they?
Do you want your Workman's Comp adjuster handling your Large Property Liability loss? Adjusters are all licensed adjusters aren't they?
Similar concerns exist amont the various engineering disciplines and licenses. They are all forensic engineers aren't they?
In a word - No, No, No and No.

While there are over 10,000 different types of experts, in California there are eighteen types of licensed engineers.  

The three main types are:
  • Civil
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical

 

The others are:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Control System Engineer
  • Corrosion Engineer
  • Fire Protection Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Safety Engineer
  • Soils (Gotechnical) Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Traffic Engineer

 

 

 

 

 

To obtain any of these licenses, there are specific education, experience, expertise, examination and professional peer recommendation requirements that are reviewed and approved (or rejected) by technical peers before the license is granted.

The following pages try to help you understand the differences amount the engineer types so you make better expert selections at the beginning of your loss investigation.  At the end, website addresses are provided so you can check an engineering expert for proper licensure.

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From Out of the Abyss...

This week’s article from the past is titled Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted and was written by Benjamin Horton, CPCU, who was President of the National Adjuster Traing School in Louisville, Kentucky..  It is taken from the Decembe 1968 Vol. XVI No.5 issue.

Incendiary Fires Can Be Spotted 

A phase-out of environmentally damaging chemicals means that most refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners may soon be using flammable refrigerants.

BY JESSE ROMAN

 

Like a suitor spurned over and over in love, the refrigeration and air conditioning industries can’t seem to find a good partner. While the mechanics of these indispensible technologies have been stable for decades, the substances that circulate through them absorbing heat and cooling the air—aptly named refrigerants—keep finding ways to foul things up.

Read more...

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Press Release - Contra Costa County FPD

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Press Release

Subject: Walnut Creek Man Arrested for Arson
Release Date:April 10th 2012
Contact:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
925-941-3541 Office
925-383-5034 Cell
Vic Massenkoff, Fire Investigator

Late on Friday April 6th, 62 year old Walnut Creek resident Brent Robert Kastroff waskastroff
arrested by Contra Costa County Fire District Investigators and the Walnut Creek Police Department at his home in the community of Rossmoor.

In January of this year, Fire Investigators received information about a small fire that occurred on private property on Vista Del Valle in Lafayette. The property is a large parcel that contains 3 homes, but the majority of the 90 acres is grass covered land that even when maintained can still pose a wildfire threat to nearby homes and residents due to it’s size and topography. The investigation lead to the discovery of a previously unreported fire in May of 2011 in the same area; however there were no leads in either incident.

Read more..

Press Release

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District
Press Release

Subject:        Serial Arsonist Arrest
 Pittsburg, Antioch, and Bay Point areas
Release Date:  December 21, 2011

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Investigators, assisted by the Pittsburg Police Department, arrested arson suspect, Thomas Hartman, 53 years old, from Pittsburg late Thursday afternoon December 15, 2011 after a Superior Court Judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Read more.. 

Investigation Nabs Suspects in Car Fire That Seriously Injured LAFD Captain

The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to announce the arrest of Maria Porras, 35 and Rigoberto Diaz, 37 both of Los Angeles, in conjunction with an auto-insurance fraud scheme involving an auto fire which occurred near Elysian Park in January 2011.

Read more..

Citronella Candle Hazard

Members and Friends

As you all are aware, we at CCAI want you to be informed. Therefore, I will relate to you an incident that happened in Irvine, CA.

A young school teacher was living in an upscale three story apartment complex on the second floor. The apartment had one bathroom, one bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen area off the living room. The ceiling above the kitchen was at 7 feet while the rest of the apartment was standard height of 8 feet. The apartment has fire sprinklers and one sprinkler is located above the kitchen counter and would reflect water onto the range and counter top if activated.

For some reason the school teacher was burning a Citronella candle on the counter top adjacent to the sink. The candle she purchased was in a small metal bucket with a hoop handle; the candle was not confined in glass. The teacher was washing dishes in the sink when her cat jumped onto the counter top and knocked over the bucket containing the candle. She reacted and reached for the toppled candle with both hands. In one hand she had a glass that she was washing, which contained an amount of water. Some of the water went into the bucket with the candle. A flame came out of the bucket and caused the sprinkler to activate. The water from the sprinkler also got into the bucket and there was an explosion. This entire event happened in a matter of seconds. 

The thought of a candle exploding was a mystery to me and investigator partner, Harry Hatch. We checked several stores trying to purchase the same type of candle the school teacher had described, but no luck. We wanted to see just what the candle would do and also prove or disprove the event.

After looking up Citronella candle fires on the net, we were very surprised to learn that yes, if you add water to a burning Citronella candle it will flare up and sometimes cause an explosion. We all learn something all the time. Be informed and go to yahoo, type in Citronella candle fires and have a look at the videos; you may be as surprised as we were.

Do not be afraid to write us with your hints or new investigation experiences. CCAI is in the business to keep you up to date and informed.

Be Careful Out There
Brad Hamil
Past President
2010

Menifee Man Arrested on Arson Charges

On the evening of Monday, September 5, 2011 at 5:13 p.m., CAL FIRE/Riverside County Firefighters responded to the report of a structure fire at 32870 Sussex States St. in Menifee.

The first arriving engine company found a two-story residence with smoke showing. The fire was contained to the first floor and firefighters remained at the scene several hours for overhaul. One adult female was transported to a local hospital via ground ambulance for smoke inhalation and was displaced from the home due to extensive fire damage.

CAL FIRE Investigators detained and arrested 45-year-old Edwin Monsen at the scene. Edwin was transported to the Detention Center, where he was charged with Arson (PC 451 (b)), Spousal Abuse (PC 273.5) and killing an animal (PC 597).

The Riverside County District Attorney's Office is handling the case. For more information please contact Senior Public Information Specialist John Hall at 951-955-8662.



Author:CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Dept. Press Release

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