Redlands, California-Thousands of firefighters from local, state, and federal agencies are using geographic information system (GIS) software to coordinate and effectively respond to the recent outbreak of Northern California firestorms.
using digitally mapped data, spatial analysis, and modeling to better plan and
carry out fire suppression operations. ESRI is providing software, professional
services, and other technical resources to help with the response effort. In
addition, ESRI staff is assisting GIS professionals in the Multi-Agency Coordination
Center in Northern
remote-sensing specialists work to capture, manipulate, integrate, and maintain
data collected from sensors and aerial assets such as the United States Air
Force Global Hawk, Air National Guard RC26 planes, multiple infrared sensors,
and commercial satellite coverage," says David Blankinship, senior GIS analyst,
Colorado Springs Fire Department and GIS specialist supporting the California
wildfire response. "GIS is used to quickly disseminate intelligence to
incident commanders, planning units, and analysts deployed at different fire
incident command posts. This helps teams gain a continuous, comprehensive
picture of what's happening on the ground."
numerous wildfires in California
represent an enormous challenge to agencies," says Russ Johnson, public
safety solutions (www.esri.com/industries/public_safety/index.html)
manager, ESRI. "We're working with local, state, and federal government
organizations, as well as private business and local residents, to help. GIS is
being used to gain accurate situational awareness, coordinate multiple agencies
fighting the fires, facilitate communication, and provide overall decision
deployed during the recent 2007
Southern California fires (www.esri.com/disaster_response/wildlandfire_support2007.html)
are working with CALFIRE and other agencies to provide strategic planning as
part of the overall response. Incident management teams are using GIS to map
active fire perimeters, hot spots, burned areas, and affected communities.
Protection priorities are established with the assistance of GIS when flammable
vegetation on steep slopes is mapped and modeled. GIS-generated maps are also
used to answer questions from the public about fire locations, road closures,
damaged properties, evacuations, shelter locations, and Red Cross assistance.
GIS is helping
manage the numerous California
state assets involved in battling the blazes including more than 18,000
personnel, 1,000 fire engines, 300 dozers, and 100 helicopters.
literally hundreds of fires that are taking place over a wide geographic range,
you have large numbers of response assets and personnel, and you compound that
with the sheer number of data collection assets," says Blankinship.
"What we do is use GIS to bring in large volumes of complex data from
multiple formats and integrate it into a single, comprehensive, usable source.
Fire commanders and others who aren't technology experts but experts at
fighting fires can get answers to their time-critical questions like: where's
my fire, what is it doing, and where should I deploy my limited resources? We
distill that enormous volume of data into actionable information."
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GIS Helps Local, State, and Federal Agencies Respond to Northern California Firestorms
July 16, 2008