CNR Dean & ARE Faculty Member J. Keith Gilless Featured in New York Times and Washington Post Articles Regarding California Wildfires

October 18, 2017

California Wildfires Death Toll Rises to 29 as Vast Region Is Scorched
New York Times
CNR Dean J. Keith Giless is quoted in this article on the North Bay fires and firefighter response. With a major wildfire fanned by high winds, firefighters can often do little more than focus on saving lives, experts said. That can include performing a kind of triage, deciding which structures to save and which to let burn. “The biggest part of the playbook is that you focus on public safety and not fighting the fire,” said Gilless. “Your capacity on really extreme fire behavior — and this was really extreme fire behavior — is really quite limited. This is about as complex a situation as you are going to find.” 

As a Sudden Wildfire Approaches, How Do You Get People Out of Their Homes?
Washington Post
Authorities have a variety of ways to alert residents of emergencies, but some of those systems did not work properly with the recent North Bay fires. Real-time text alerts and robo-dial systems were delayed due to the destruction of a major communication hub and dozens of cell towers. One danger is that people sometimes receive emergency alerts but turn them off or simply tune them out, said CNR Dean J. Keith Gilless. “My biggest worry is that people find warnings annoying and either don’t want to regard them anymore or fiddle around with settings on their phones,” he said.

What To Do If You’re Trapped In A Vehicle In The Middle Of A Wildfire
Washington Post
CNR Dean J. Keith Gilless is featured in this article that explores what options people have when trapped in a vehicle while trying to get away from a fire. Gilless warns that becoming trapped in a vehicle is one of the leading causes of wildfire deaths because people wait too long to go. “When you’re told to evacuate — go. Don’t consider whether to stay, don’t evaluate it, don’t talk about it with neighbors,” Gilless said. “Go.” While this article does give tips on how one might try to survive by staying inside the car, he says: "The real objective here is not to put yourself in a situation [where] you're thinking, 'Should I go in the culvert? Should I go in the swimming pool?' Because the radiant heat off of these really big fires is tremendous."