Rep. Carbajal Announces $1.5 million in Federal Funding for Wildfire Research
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) announced that UC Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Earth Research Institute has been awarded a $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) program grant to evaluate urban wildfire patterns and resilience strategies.
Yesterday, Rep. Carbajal addressed a full chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives to urge them to provide badly needed resources for federal land management agencies to fight wildfires and implement prevention programs. Watch his full remarks here.
“With the Alamo and Whittier fires burning over 40,000 acres combined on the Central Coast, this funding comes at a critical time to help our federal, state and local officials better cope with fire season and implement more strategic response strategies,” said Rep. Carbajal. “I am grateful for the efforts of our students and professors at UCSB for their work to improve fire safety in our communities.”
“This grant will help UCSB expand our knowledge of the increasing threat of wildfire to urban areas and explore better fire management and protection methods to employ in our communities,” said UCSB Professor Leila Carvalho. “We’re proud to be called on to delve more deeply into this critical issue to assist local and national leaders in fire research and firefighting. We need more leaders with a vision for sciences and who deeply care about our population, we appreciate Rep. Carbajal’s support in this effort.”
Wildfires at the wildland-urban interface pose significant hazards to people and the environment and cost billions of dollars to the nation. Santa Barbara County in California embodies one of the worst wildfire hazard scenarios affecting highly populated areas along the west coast of the United States. A significant portion of the Santa Barbara population resides in mountain areas near canyons and passes in the wildland-urban interface, being particularly vulnerable to fires during extreme weather conditions.
This project will integrate atmospheric, fire spread and transportation models to enhance the current understanding of extreme fire weather regimes and wildfire behavior in the wildland-urban interface.
The project will provide key outreach materials for dissemination to government agencies that could be available to the public. Moreover, this project will significantly contribute to academic education through new courses, theses and dissertations, and by promoting activities aiming at educating the general population about fire risk. The project will enhance public awareness, increase resilience and reduce harmful impacts of wildfire on the Central Coast.