Delicate Dance of Using Data to Fight Forest Fires
by Rebecca Ruiz
First of all, fighting a wildfire requires a lot of data. That’s including weather forecasts, terrain maps, private and commercial property boundaries. As well as historic fire perimeters are just some of the many variables. All that a fire official must account for in drawing up a battle plan.
The right technology can collect essential information that gives crews a significant advantage over a blaze. Yet firefighting is a finely tuned practice based on decades of experience. So to introduce the latest fad in data collection and analysis risks making potentially fatal or disastrous mistakes.
That’s also one of the reasons fire officials continue to rely on a model developed years ago. One that predicts how flames might spread based on different inputs. However a new, more precise model is being developed. Yet the current design is dependable.
The same for the sensors used by the Forest Service. These devices were designed decades ago. So they need to be continually upgraded with new electronics.
Consequently, they are flown on Beechcraft King Air or Cessna aircraft. They use two thermal channels. All to map a fire with infrared. So looking for active hot spots, the fire perimeter and fresh threats beyond the line of containment.
In conclusion and for the Entire Story and Source: Txchnologist