Natural Disasters: Forest Fires and Fighting Them With Sim Tables

Written by Teen Leader, Alyssa Riley



Porifirio Chavarria a Wildland Urban Interface Specialist from the Santa Fe Fire Department talks to students about his roles and interests in forest fires.

October 17th, 2018, SFIS Café Scientifique had a presentation from Porfirio Chavarria and Stephen Garcia. The presentation was about forest fires and using controlled fires to fight larger forest fires. Porfirio is from Santa Clara, NM and he has worked at the Santa Fe Fire Department Specialist for over 13 years. Porfirio helps people take cover and protects them if a fire were to occur around the area. Stephen Garcia deals with controlling the fires and finding out in which way the fire is heading.

Stephen Guerin describing the reactants and products of photosynthesis and fires.

We learned the 3 elements of fire which are oxygen, fuel, and heat. The influence to a fire’s behavior is how fast a fire burns, wind, and slope. We also learned that humans can control fire, unlike other natural occurring disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanos. Wildfires can be good for the environment when they are set as a controlled burn to make room for more trees. To distinguish what direction the fire is heading in you can look on the website FlamMap and it will show you a graph of the topography of the fire. Logistics are a good way to find out how to approach the fire. To keep the fire going it would need oxygen. The smoke is made up of water vapor and carbon dioxide. We also watched how they would use a sim table to see where the terrain of the location of a fire as well.

The overall presentation was interesting to learn how to work with the sim tables and looking forest fires from a new perspective. Learning about fire is beneficial if you are planning to live near the woods or even just going camping and learning to respect nature.