There is a compelling business case for additional investment in enhanced data acquisition and analysis to better assess the safety and effectiveness of wildfire management. As a result of long-standing data gaps, fire management organizations cannot recreate what happened during fire operations, leading to persistent challenges in: (1) demonstrating the nature and magnitude of suppression investments, (2) assessing what did and didn’t work, (3) improving future effectiveness based on what was learned, and (4) understanding and preventing firefighter injuries and deaths. Credible analysis of the safety and effectiveness of wildfire management requires a clearer understanding of strategic, tactical, and operational objectives. Further required is information on firefighting resource location and use at high-resolution spatial and temporal scales. To facilitate timely analysis, the relevant data need to be archived, digital, accessible, and searchable. In December 2021, RMRS entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with a private company, Ignis Technologies, interested in capturing and availing better real-time data and analytics around wildland firefighting response and resource use. We agreed on common goals of (1) enhancing situational awareness with cutting-edge technology and (2) amassing historically elusive data needed to advance research into suppression effectiveness and performance measurement in wildland fire management. This agreement provides a vehicle for greater collaboration with the interagency fire data community. We are currently working with interagency representatives of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and Wildland Fire Information Technology to ensure that the data captured through our collaborative efforts are incorporated into the Interagency Data Management Environment (IDME), which is a modern architecture that enables governed, self-service analytics across wildland fire.
Karen C. Short, Andrew Dixon, Cody Casperson, Emily Harbo
NRFSN number: 26268