Official: Computer models can't catch up to fast-moving, drought-fueled wildfires

Associated Press

Wildfires that have overwhelmed firefighters in California this summer are stumping computer models designed to predict where they'll burn.

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CalFire Director Ken Pimlott said Monday that fires are exceeding what models will predict during the drought.

A U.S. Forest Service manager says fires have expanded faster and that's one factor that could be making modeling harder.

It's not clear if modeling would have predicted the rapid growth of a blaze in Lake County that torched more than 60 square miles in 12 hours, destroyed nearly 600 homes and killed a woman last weekend.

But Pimlott says CalFire ran models hundreds of times that couldn't replicate the rapid growth of a fire in the same area in late July. That fire destroyed 43 homes and spread over 100 square miles.