California Wildfire Lamp

Student Caleb Rabadan
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon
Topic: Final

For the final visualization project I sourced data regarding wildfire statistics in California to create a 3-dimensional model. My decision to use wildfires as a subject stemmed from in-class discussions on current wildfires and how prevalent they have been in California over the recent years. Inspiration for representing this data in a 3-dimensional model came from the documentary on Ai Wei Wei, where, in one of his gallery shows he uses a large rectangular frame to drape what looked like sequence style beads. On a much smaller scale I built a model that would simultaneously show time in years, total acres burned, average rainfall precipitation, and major fires since early 2000. The individual beads I used varied in color to represent the aforementioned categories respectively (yellow= acres burned, blue= rain precipitation, red= major fires, silver= half the value of a whole).

The tools I used to create this included one aluminum frame repurposed from an IKEA holiday light, hot glue, beads, fishing wire, cardboard & yarn. My goal of the model was to create a “lamp” as a metaphor for fire, with the beads as the “lamp shade.”  Another goal was to show (if any existed) the relationships that might be present in the data. Since my audience includes California students it is relevant because we are all affected by the fires that have historically devastated our state. In conclusion, my model show’s that California in spite of average precipitation levels over the years has not stopped major fires from breaking out in California.

To continue this project I would research subjects such as the Santa Ana Winds, and population growth into rural areas in California. Using more data will hopefully paint a more concise picture of the many variables that make California extremely susceptible to wildfires.

: I used hot glue and a wire frame to form the structure, with fishing wire to hold the beads. 
: The final proof. 

Data Resources

https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/california
https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-wildfires
https://water.ca.gov/LegacyFiles/climatechange/docs/CA_Climate_Science_and_Data_Final_Release_June_2015.pdf
https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/California/average-yearly-city-precipitation.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_California_wildfires#Pre-2000