EESA research scientist Erica Woodburn and EESA postdoc fellow Jennifer Soong talk about the morning presentations during a break at the “Fire in the Environment” Workshop held on May 9.

Environmental scientists and engineers came together Thursday, May 9, at a workshop to share research taking place across Berkeley relevant to “Fire in the Environment.” The workshop covered a range of key topics, including the expected impact of climate change on future fires; wildfire as a natural part of California’s environment; and cutting-edge technologies that can assist with detecting, modeling, and mapping fires, and enhancing our ability to co-exist with future fires.

EESA co-sponsored the event with the UC-Berkeley College of Engineering and College of Natural Sciences. In addition to building awareness of the depth and breadth of wildfire research ongoing across these organizations, a key objective was to build a Berkeley fire community and lay the groundwork for potential future collaborations across research areas.

CESD Senior Advisor Margaret Torn co-organized the event, which was opened up by UC Berkeley Deans David Ackerly and Tsu Jae King Liu as well as associate lab director Susan Hubbard. Several Berkeley Lab scientists gave presentations. CESD Director Bill Collins discussed the potential impact of climate change on California wildfires. Berkeley Lab scientists Bill Riley, Michelle Newcomer, and Larry Dale discussed ecosystem and fire modeling, the effect of wildfire on water quality, and how wildfires impact energy, respectively. CESD research scientist Erica Woodburn co-led a breakout session on the impact of fire on carbon and water cycling.

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Margaret Torn, above, opens the workshop “Fire in the Environment,” held Thursday, May 9, at Sibley Auditorium at the UC Berkeley College of Engineering Bechtel Hall.

EESA Research Scientist Michelle Newcomer discussed her study of the effect 2017 California Wine Country wildfires and any post-fire storms had on the hydrological and biogeochemical conditions of the water quality as it moves through the Russian River and groundwater system, the main source of drinking water for 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Workshop participants gathered in lunchtime breakout sessions at the Berkeley fire research workshop on Thursday, May 9.