Using Data To Fight Wildfires: An Inside Look - InformationWeek

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9/3/2015
07:06 AM
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Using Data To Fight Wildfires: An Inside Look

Data gathering and analysis are now part of an array of tools used to fight wildfires in the US. Here's what it all looks like.
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(Image: Smokeybear.com)

This has been a record-setting year for the area on the ground lost to wildfires in the United States. Nearly 8 million acres (3,237,485.12 hectares) have burned in seven states. To battle forest fires, more than 20,000 firefighters have worked with an array of tools, from driptorches and pulaskis to bulldozers and aerial tankers.

Within that array of tools, data gathering and analysis play increasingly important roles.

For firefighters, the information that comes from data analysis is critical for a number of reasons. Real-time data alerts firefighters to ignitions at an earlier, more easily winnable stage. The information gives them insight into what a fire is doing underneath a thick layer of smoke. Analysis of the terrain into which a fire is moving offers guidance about what the fire is likely to do next. Modeling software that uses a variety of data sources gives firefighters critical, and potentially life-saving, knowledge about how a certain type of forest fire is likely to behave so that equipment and personnel can be properly positioned to combat the blaze.

If your last thought about wildfires was the last time you saw Smokey Bear on a sign, it's time you updated your information. Our image gallery will help you do just that, and remind you of the firefighters who have lost their lives this year, and every year, battling our nation's wildfires.

Has wildfire had an impact on your life or business this year? Are you involved in fighting wildfires or responding to natural disasters? Let us know your thoughts about the latest trends in data analysis -- and please, stay safe out there.

[Data modeling tools and fire simulators guide firefighters on the frontlines. Read Data, Analytics Help Fight Forest Fires.]

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/7/2015 | 11:41:01 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Ashish, thanks. :) What part of the world is really, really a free world? -Susan
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2015 | 11:34:12 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Susan,

All the best on your Travels!

Having seen and understood London better I already know its not a part of the " Free world" as you put it!

 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/7/2015 | 11:34:12 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Ashish, I am not. But I simply don't believe the restriction in Regent's Park is due to paparazzi activity. I am repeating myself here. :/ I can tell you one thing, Monaco is more attractive for paparazzi activity than London is. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/7/2015 | 11:22:16 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Ashish, in a couple of weeks' time, when I'm back in London, I'll find out the reason for the drone restriction in Regent's Park. Because, I don't think it has to do with any paparazzi activity. :/ Unless, you know that is a fact. The UK is part of the free world. :) -Susan
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2015 | 11:18:59 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Brian,

I really appreciate what you had to say HERE-

The process requires a lot of research to confidentially protect a house from wildfires or neighborhood fires. The Black Saturday fires from 2009 created a lot of destruction. A few homeowners managed to protect their homes but, a few were not able to do the same. Heat resistant roof tiles and water sprinkler systems were installed by many households but, this did not protect against horizontal embers that fire creates through its own micro weather system that can break windows and/or ignite walls.  

My question was more along the lines of Why more folks are'nt doing it today?

Why depend on the State for everything under the sun(The Californian way of doing things).

If this was Texas,enterprising Texans would have figured out what works and sorted out the situation in next to no time.

After all its not like most Californians are stressed for cash today-When they can spend thousands of Dollars on Luxury Cars ,Granite Countertops and Fancy Foriegn Vacations ;Why not spend it on something which has more lasting value for you and your family personally?


 

 

 

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2015 | 11:12:52 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Susan,

You seriously don't want to understate the amount of Influence The Billions of Dollars of wealth that these Russians and Arabs have holed up in London.

The impact on not just House Prices but also Basic Economy will be catastrophic if they are forced to leave London because of incessantly nosy Paparazzis.

I am not surprised the Government took this action there.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2015 | 11:08:48 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Susan,

What you say is quite right(nothing can stop the Paparazzi) but you can definitely slow them down.

This is precisely what these Drone Restrictions are aiming to do today in London.

And lets not forget that London is the most under-surveillance city in the world today;so the Authorities want to do everything they can to keep every resident under the nose of their thumb(so more such restrictions).

Only someone totally naive would claim that the UK is a part of the "Free World".

LOL!!

Sad but true reality.

 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/7/2015 | 6:32:50 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Ashu001, agreed, there is a lot that a homeowner can and should do to protect their home and the surrounding neighborhood. Technology has improved many folds during the last few years, information is available and the market has created a number of specialized consulting firms that can help in the protection process.

The process requires a lot of research to confidentially protect a house from wildfires or neighborhood fires. The Black Saturday fires from 2009 created a lot of destruction. A few homeowners managed to protect their homes but, a few were not able to do the same. Heat resistant roof tiles and water sprinkler systems were installed by many households but, this did not protect against horizontal embers that fire creates through its own micro weather system that can break windows and/or ignite walls.  
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/6/2015 | 1:12:27 PM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Curt, in the case of Hyde Park I would understand it for its proximity to Buckingham Palace. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/6/2015 | 1:09:14 PM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Ashish, now I see Curt mentioned Hyde Park in his comment to me. But I was talking about Regent's Park before (see previous comments), not Hyde Park. Most likely Curt mentioned Hyde Park for its proximity to Buckingham Palace. I don't believe any footballer, wealthy Russians, or Arabs will have more protection that the Queen herself. -Susan
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