University of California, Riverside

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Wildfire Expertise Available

Weather, Winds, Kick up Wildfires

Researchers at UC Riverside study the causes and consequences of fire

(October 22, 2007)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -— Researchers at UC Riverside can provide insight about the causes and impacts of wildfires now raging in Southern California.

The campus remains open on a normal schedule for classes, but Ross Grayson, director of Environmental Health and Safety, advises students, staff and faculty of UCR to avoid unnecessary exertion while outdoors when in smoky areas.

Faculty members willing to take questions from reporters trying to write about the quickly changing wildland fires are listed below:

Roger Atkinson, director of the Air Pollution Research Center and a professor of atmospheric chemistry, can speak about the health hazards of the smoke in the air downwind from wildfires. “The sensible thing to do during a wildfire is to stay inside, air condition and filter your air, and limit exposure to the smoke coming from the fires,” said E-mail:
Phone: (951) 827-4191

Tom Scott, natural resources specialist at the UCR Center for Conservation Biology, can speak to the effect wildfires have on animal habitat, and on the land that sits between the suburban developments of the cities and the tourist towns of the highlands. “We have 1,900 kilometers of houses that back up to wild lands in Riverside County alone,” he said. “How could we not have problems with that kind of juxtaposition of people and brush fire territory? Along that margin, anything can happen. This area fell between the cracks for decades.”
Phone: (951) 827-5115

Richard A. Minnich, professor of earth sciences, can speak about the fire ecology of Southern California, Baja California, and temperate Mexico. He can comment on how exotic plant invasions and climate change influence wildfires. He can speak to problems that can arise due to fire suppression, the impact of dry weather and drought on wildfires, the contribution of air pollution to wildfires, and solutions to addressing wildfires.
Phone: (951) 827-5515

Shankar Mahalingam, professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, can speak about the fluid dynamics of combustion, wildland fire modeling, and the chemical changes plants and other materials undergo during fires. He has written extensively about the behavior of fire as it burns Southern California’s chaparral vegetation. His wildland fire modeling is funded through the U.S. Forest Service and is conducted at the Forest Fire Laboratory in Riverside.
Phone: (951) 827-2134

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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