Banana Trees Could Protect California Cities From Wildfires

Computer science professor Barath Raghavan argues that Californian cities faced with the worst wildfires on record could be granted cover by banana groves. As a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers association, Raghavan researches (and plants and grows) the fruits on plots of land across the state, typically in his yard or on properties owned by friends or family members. He states that since banana trees aren’t technically trees at all (they’re herbs with tall, thick and sappy stems), they do not burn as easily as wood. If a wildfire were to approach a fire-vulnerable town, burning through a grove of banana trees would ultimately slow it long enough for firefighters to gain control, hopefully extinguishing it before it encroaches any further. His coding expertise has allowed him to simulate such scenarios, and he’s been permitted to carry out a real-life experiment in Hawaii. Banana trees also produce a profitable crop, he adds, as he explains which bananas grow best in various parts of the state. Read more at Atlas Obscura.

Image courtesy of Barath Raghavan