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Oregon State research targets embers in fight against fires

Researchers at Oregon State University are finding ways to detect areas that are most vulnerable to those spot fires by using embers from a handful of different trees to detect which ones burn the fastest, as well as how far the embers travel from their controlled burn sites.

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon State University professor is using federal funding to conduct research on how embers form and spread during devastating wildfires.

The Statesman Journal reports Friday that assistant professor David Blunck's team is testing variables such as temperature, wind speed, timber species and branch diameter to figure out how to predict when embers will form.

Last fall's fire in the Columbia River Gorge jumped across the Columbia River to Washington state when the wind carried an ember two miles across the water.

The fire scorched 78 square miles (202 square kilometers).

The research results are being shared with the U.S. Forest Service.

Researchers hope it can be used to create a model that could calculate probabilities for how many embers could form and how far away they might land.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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