MONTEREY CO., Calif. (KRON) — Scientists with San Jose State University’s wildfire research center and Cal Fire conducted a prescribed burn in a canyon Monday.

It is called the California Canyon Fire Experiment. The prescribed burn took place in a canyon east of the City of Salinas in Monterey County, all part of wildfire mitigation efforts and research.

This was the first time scientists were able to monitor the fire burning up a canyon with all their instruments in place. The goal of this experiment is to improve wildfire predictions and modeling of fire behavior.

“Canyon fire behavior is very dangerous. Fires in canyons are responsible for many firefighter fatalities around the world, and we don’t know a lot about the mechanisms of fire-spreading canyons,” said Craig Clements, SJSU Director of Wildfire Interdisciplinary research center and meteorology professor.

Clements said this study was ten years in the making. It was a joint project with Cal Fire, PG&E, Hexion, Technosylva and Stella-Jones.

“We were able to help them monitor the fire behavior as the fire burned their poles and so now, we have this real case of a high intensity fire that they can then show that the poles will actually survive an intense wildfire like this,” said Clements.

Clements installed sensors before the prescribed fire. An infrared camera and drone were also used to collect data.

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“Those two data sets will allow us to understand the fire behavior. All the metrics of fire behavior at the same time we were scanning the plume with our doppler wind lidar, doppler radar that will understand the winds that blow into the fire,” said Clements.

The wildfire research center team studies major wildfires across the state, but this recent study was the first canyon fire experiment in California. Clements said the first one took place in Portugal more than 20 years ago.

“We were able to measure many more properties including the atmosphere, meteorology, the fire behavior and the fuels, topography, so it’s just this enormous data set that’s never been collected on a canyon fire so it’s pretty exciting,” added Clements.

The lab expects to have preliminary findings in the next month. The core preliminary data should be out in six months to a year.