I saw an interesting article about data-driven tools being used by Federal agencies called Predictive Analytics and the Battle Against Wildfires. This article describes how Federal agencies are using data-driven analytics to mine data from a variety of sources and agency partners and collate this information for decision makers. What they are trying to develop is a defined idea of areas that will have the greatest wildfire vulnerability. The data that they input comes from a variety of sources including satellites, aircraft, and ground observers, along with data about weather, the condition fuels class of vegetation (what is the humidity level is in plant material), past patterns of lightning strikes and past fire history. Using this data, they are trying to better preplan where resources will be needed for the next wildfire season.
In the past the article stated that this data analytics was not as well coordinated, “Unlike large, structured government programs such as military weapons systems, these wildfire programs were developed piecemeal over the years as agencies have contributed capabilities.”
Some of the data sets coordinated include, (ROMAN), the Real Time Observation Monitor and Analysis Network, the National Digital Forecast Database and (FARSITE), the Fire Area Simulator. The article states that the most pressing need for this data is during fire season. It is at this time that there is a need for increased server capacity. The article also discussed the importance seen by many fire departments across the nation to better be able to predict or forecast which areas in their regions may face higher risk from wildfire.One future project discussed was trying to develop a scale for wildfires similar to the Richter Scale for earthquakes to better categorize the intensity of a wildfire in an area so fire departments and residents are aware of the risk they are facing.
This data and other information available including information about the amazing difference that Firewise Communities are making are all pieces of the puzzle that will better enable us all to understand our risk and then embrace actions that can make a difference. Learn about what piece you hold today as we all strive to have a Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire.