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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN

SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE

JANUARY 26, 2001

WASHINGTON, DC

A REPORT TO THE NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE

BY

RUTHERFORD H. PLATT

CHAIR, NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE



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TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN: SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE JANUARY 26, 2001 WASHINGTON, DC A REPORT TO THE NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE BY RUTHERFORD H. PLATT CHAIR, NATURAL DISASTERS ROUNDTABLE

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TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN: SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This report is available on the internet from the National Academy Press , 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); internet <http://www.nap.edu>. This report is funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Task order 56-DKNA-0-95111); Federal Emergency Management Agency (EMW-2001-SA-0051); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (W-24245); Pacific Gas & Electric; and EPRI (EP501 0000002689). The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its subagencies, NASA, FEMA, PG&E, or EPRI. Supported by the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, under assistance award No. 00HQAG0205. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.CMS-9981962. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN: SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievement of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of 0furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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TO BURN OR NOT TO BURN: SUMMARY OF THE FORUM ON URBAN/WILDLAND FIRE FOREWORD The Natural Disasters Roundtable seeks to facilitate and enhance communication and the exchange of ideas among scientists, practitioners, and policymakers concerned with urgent and important issues related to natural disasters. Roundtable meetings are held three times a year in Washington, DC. Each meeting is an open forum focused on a specific topic or issue selected by the NDR Steering Committee. The NDR Steering Committee is composed of 5 appointed members and sponsoring ex officio members. Appointed members are: Rutherford H. Platt, Chair, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; James P. Bruce, Global Change Strategies International, Inc., Ottawa, Canada; Wilfred D. Iwan, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Stephen P. Leatherman, International Hurricane Center, Florida International University, Miami; and Mary Fran Myers, Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado at Boulder. Ex officio members are: Ralph Bernstein, EPRI; Lloyd S. Cluff, Pacific Gas & Electric; Miriam Heller, NSF; Robert M. Hirsch, USGS; Margaret Lawless, FEMA; Earnest D. Paylor, II, NASA; and Helen M. Wood, NOAA. This paper presents the rapporteur's summary of the forum discussions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the roundtable members or other participants. For more information on the Roundtable visit our website: http://nationalacademies.org/naturaldisasters or contact us at the address below. Natural Disasters Roundtable The National Academies 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 Phone: 202-334-1964 Fax: 202-334-1961.