Wyden, Merkley: OSU Earns Federal Funds to Research Ways of Limiting Wildfire Spread

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that Oregon State University has earned $265,000 in federal funds to improve models used by fire managers to help them contain wildfires and employ prescribed burns as a tool to reduce the risk of wildfires in Oregon and nationwide.

“This well-deserved award for OSU is timely and welcome news for communities throughout Oregon and the West facing the dire threat from wildfires to lives and livelihoods,” Wyden said. “I look forward to the university’s nationally renowned researchers developing sound and innovative approaches that use the best science to reduce those wildfire risks and to increase the effectiveness of proven firefighting tools.”

“In order to protect the homes and communities of Oregonians during wildfire season, we must expand our understanding of how wildfires spread and burn,” said Senator Merkley. “The work OSU researchers do provides immense benefits to Oregon, and this funding will support further research into wildfires so we can better understand them and reduce the risks they pose to Oregonians across the state.”

The $265,039 award from the National Science Foundation will go toward studying how burning changes when mixtures of living and dead fuels are present, expanding the focus of most studies that analyze just the burning behavior of dead fuels. The OSU project is entitled “Collaborative Research: Understanding Key Processes Controlling Burning of Heterogeneous Fuel in Wildfires” and is under the direction of David Blunck.