Using Data To Fight Wildfires: An Inside Look - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Big Data Analytics
News
9/3/2015
07:06 AM
50%
50%

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.
Previous
1 of 15
Next

(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

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 15
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 4 / 4
Brian.Dean
50%
50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2015 | 6:44:49 PM
Re: Drones and wildfires
@Curt, I see a lot of potential for drones to set back fires, data collection and releasing fire retardant. However, the use cases will only work if it is coordinated and the tools are in the hands of the firefighters. It will require some time before technology progresses and budgets are allocated to gain these benefits until then, I think anti-drone technology will need to be utilized.

I wonder if land drones can be safely utilized for search and rescue during a disaster.  
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/3/2015 | 12:43:36 PM
Re: Drones and wildfires
Curt, most likely you are right. Speaking of keeping the skies safe for everyone, there is a sign in Regent's Park, in London, that says that flying drones there is not allowed. I suspect the same rule applies to the rest of the Royal Gardens. I took a picture of the sign because it was so interesting at the same time I was wondering how many people would fly a drone there, and for what reason. Maybe one of those drone cameras, perhaps. -Susan
Li Tan
50%
50%
Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2015 | 11:40:36 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
I think using data-driven approach to fight wildfire is the right approach. However, some over-reactions and calibrations are needed before really viable solution is reached.
Curt Franklin
50%
50%
Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2015 | 10:47:33 AM
Re: Drones and wildfires
@Susan, organizations in and out of government are looking for ways to "geo-fence" drones away from active fires or to be able to take control of drones if they're in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is one of those times when technology has run ahead of policy and the ultimate answer is for responsible drone owners to bring peer pressure on everyone to follow the rules and keep the skies safe for everyone. I suspect, though, that we'll see some remarkable over-reaction before we see reasonable solutions.
Susan Fourtané
50%
50%
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/3/2015 | 10:07:30 AM
Drones and wildfires
Curt, how can that increase in the number of drone-related accidents in fire zones be prevented, or how could it decrease? -Susan
<<   <   Page 4 / 4
Slideshows
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
News
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Commentary
Study: Cloud Migration Gaining Momentum
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
Slideshows
Flash Poll