Fire modeling paints scary picture for Ojai

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
Predicting wildfire behavior could be a useful tool in sparing the Ojai Valley from catastrophe, according to Ojai resident Doug Campbell who has been analyzing fire behavior for more than 40 years, both for the Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
Before that, he spent many seasons in the field fighting wildfires, and quickly learned the value of making accurate predictions as to the specific time and place where fire behavior changes will occur.
“What bothered me was there were 27 guys that I worked with in my career that died in burn-over situations that I felt were predictable,” said Campbell.
He wrote a book on the topic, “The Campbell Prediction System,” and spearheaded development of a computer program that educates firefighters on what affects fire behavior.
The program, The Wildfire Management Tool (WMT) takes into consideration wind, fuel and topography.

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