A Changing Landscape: Wildfire Dynamics in California

Thursday, July 23rd 12pm – 1:30pm

Dr. Fadji Zaouna Maina

Postdoctoral Researcher Berkeley Lab

Katya Rakhmatulina

PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering UC Berkeley

In recent years, wildfires in the western United States have occurred with increasing frequency and scale, in part due to prolonged periods of drought, elevated temperatures, and high fuel loads in fire-suppressed forests. Many of these fires occur in forested mountainous watersheds like the Sierra Nevada, which provide 60-90% of the developed water supply for California, creating a critical nexus between water and fire from a management perspective. However, there is much uncertainty about how wildfires impact the water supply in the Golden State. Learn how researchers are leveraging high-performance computing to simulate watershed dynamics and develop a predictive understanding of the influence of wildfire on water availability, and how a wildfire management strategy implemented in one watershed has been shown to increase water yields, improve landscape diversity, and decrease risk of catastrophic wildfires.

Dr. Fadji Zaouna Maina

Dr. Fadji Zaouna Maina 

is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Berkeley Lab. She received her Ph.D. in Hydrology in 2016 from the University of Strasbourg (France). Before joining the Lab, Fadji had been working on the development of mathematical models to address water resources issues in France and Italy. At Berkeley Lab, Fadji uses high-performance computing and remote-sensing methods to understand the impacts of climate extremes and wildfires on water resources. She aims to provide a scientific basis that enables better understanding of how water resources will respond to extreme events, such as wildfire and drought, which may be increasing with climate change. Fadji was included in the Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list in 2020.

Katya Rakhmatulina

Katya Rakhmatulina

is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She is interested in complex interactions between wildfires, hydrology, ecology, and climate change. The results of her research will aid watershed management decisions with the goal of minimizing catastrophic fires, promoting landscape diversity, and increasing water yield. Katya uses art as a medium for science engagement and is an illustrator for Berkeley Science Review.

Brought to you by UC Berkeley’s Science at Cal and Berkeley Lab’s Government & Community Relations Office, “Midday Science Cafe” is a new virtual series that highlights compelling and complementary scientific research from both institutions. Grab your lunch and join us for some great science and discussion; questions are encouraged!

This webinar will be recorded. If you require captioning to access a pre-recorded event, please contact Dione Rossiter at scienceatcal@berkeley.edu. Please expect 7-10 days for captioning to be provided.

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