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Mapping Data Revolutionizing the Study of Wildfire Behavior

FiremappingA recent Denver Post article says Scientists at Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have engineered a computer modeling technique that can provide accurate predictions of the growth and behavior of long-lived wildfires.

The utilization of cutting edge technology is radically altering the comprehension of wildfire behavior. The intel gained from the new technologies is inspired to provide clarity in regards to fire movement and give firefighting responders the upper hand during wildfire disasters.

One such technique is wildfire mapping which utilizes advanced computer model simulations of the interactions of fire and weather, combined with fine-scale satellite data collected from active wildfires. Mapping developers say the technology is critical in helping fire responders work smarter and better orchestrate both ground and air firefighters efforts.

“Mostly wildfires have been dealt with by foresters, but when we looked at them with our atmospheric scientist eyes, we saw a lot of things we understood from studies of thunderstorms and other meteorological phenomena,” NCAR scientist Janice Coen said. “As the fire consumes fuel, it produces heat and water vapor,” she said. “This makes the air warmer than the air around it, so it wants to rise, and more air has to move in to the base of the column to replace it, so that affects the winds near the fire.” Coen said that by “cycling,” or updating the fire behavior model with fresh satellite data every 12 to 24 hours, the scientists showed they could forecast fire growth and behavior. Joe Rubino, Daily Camera

Read more: NCAR scientists tout computer technique that can predict wildfire path – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24538938/ncar-scientists-tout-computer-technique-that-can-predict#ixzz2ln5ZVGoa

Other types of cutting-edge technological tools include:

  • Remote automated weather station (RAWS) data can be used to predict wildfire danger
  • Computer Fire Modeling to demonstrate the speed and direction in which a fire can spread
  • Programs such as Behave, Behave Plus, and FARSITE enable users to add topographic factors, wind conditions, fuel packages, and fuel moisture, then factor them into the modeling data to explain behavior patterns
  • Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology GPS devices allow an investigator to walk the perimeter of the general area(s) of origin and overlay them onto a mapping program such as Google Earth.
  • LIDAR technology offers a 3-D approach to depict critical dimensions and measurements.

For more information on expert wildfire investigation assistance, visit us at www.wildfireinvestigator.com

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