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Wildland Fire Support Services


July 30, 2012

With fires in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona causing widespread damage as well as significant drought across the US, 2012 may be shaping up to what insurers say may be one of the worst years for wildland fires. 

Exponent has investigated the cause and origin of wildland fires for numerous power utilities and process industry facilities. The multidisciplinary nature of Exponent’s teams enables the coverage of all aspects of these complex investigations. Our fire and explosion team determines the origin and coordinates the activities of additional resources. Our electrical engineers assist in analyzing electrical ignition sources. Our civil engineering and environmental practices assist in the detailed surveys of area of origin, aerial surveys of the burn damage, and preparation of GIS data for computer simulations. Our ecological practice can assist in the assessment of damage and consult on rehabilitation of the burned areas. Exponent engineers and scientists also have expertise in remote sensing and photogrammetry.

Some of our services include:

  • Evaluation of burn limits, burn intensity, and degree of vegetative recovery
  • Air photo analysis
  • Remote sensing analysis
  • Land use and flood hazard studies
  • Sediment yield analysis
  • Geologic mapping
  • Debris flow and landslide hazard analysis
  • Natural resources damage assessment
  • Evaluation of ecosystem impacts
  • Evaluation of water quality impacts
  • Determining agricultural losses
  • Habitat Equivalency Analysis

Exponent can evaluate the hazards resulting from wildfires and provide remedial solutions tailored to the local site conditions. Exponent uses detailed site inspections and accurate mapping of the area of origin using advanced laser-based tools to obtain an accurate estimation of the air gap between transmission lines and vegetation. The capture of transmission data leading up to the fire provides crucial evidence regarding the nature and timing of the arcing. Our staff has also developed analytical tools that estimate the actual distance over which an arc can occur under specific conditions of the transmission line and the nature and geometry of the electrical ground.