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Feds developing 'Richter' scale for wildfires

By Associated Press
Published On: Sep 24 2013 11:47:47 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 24 2013 11:49:13 AM CDT

John Wark


Federal researchers are working on developing a scale to measure and predict the destructiveness of wildfires.

Similar to the Fujita scale for tornadoes and categories for hurricanes, the Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Scale would measure wildfire on a scale of E-1 to E-4. Researchers say it could help city planners assign better building codes for the millions of people who live in fire-prone areas and also save lives by helping firefighters convince people to evacuate an area.
Researchers are taking a close look at embers, which are blamed for destroying more than half the homes lost to wildfires.
Officials with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Forest Service who are developing the scale say it's still several years away.