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E. A Safe Way to Help Train Firefighters to Combat Wildfires

Narrator: This is Science Today. Atmospheric scientists at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories are developing a computer program that can simulate and eventually predict wildfire behavior. Mike Bradley of the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says aside from helping contain wildfires, this program could also be used in a training environment.

Bradley: Something that would be somewhat analogous to flight simulators that is used to train pilots. Firefighters learn some of their most important lessons under very hazardous conditions and sometimes they lose their lives in the process. But we can provide a safe environment where a firefighter can simulate fighting a fire and if he or she makes a mistake, they can go back and do it again and find out what's the best way for a certain weather condition in the fire to fight the fire.

Narrator: Another potential use would be predicting the behavior of prescribed burns before they're ignited.

Bradley: And the firefighters can determine - do they really want to light that fire today or maybe they should wait until a couple days later.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm ...ah...Larissa Branin.