wildfire remediation decision support system

Cloud-based Web app assists fire response teams

Wildfires have become much more intense in the last few years,   wreaking havoc on homes and even transforming ecosystems.  While fire prevention and predictability is important, fire response is equally important – and also statutorily mandated by the U.S. government. 

To help coordinate data and wildfire response among a variety of agencies,  the Rehabilitation Capacity Convergence for Ecosystem Recovery (RECOVER) cloud-based decision support system will assist teams create a post-fire rehabilitation plan. 

When a fire has been named, a burned area emergency response (BAER) team has seven days to make assessments and must develop stabilization and rehabilitation plans within 21 days, an effort requiring massive amounts of data and coordination.   

RECOVER uses the cloud to automatically collect Earth observational satellite data and historic, local biophysical information so that by the time the fire is contained, BAER teams will have a ready-made, easy-to-use GIS analysis environment for remediation planning.  

Initial studies suggest that RECOVER can cut the time required to assemble and deliver crucial wildfire-related data from days to a matter of minutes.

Created by federal agencies in collaboration with Idaho agencies and funded by NASA’s applied science program, the RECOVER system uses Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, which allows project managers to spin up resources as needed.  Its web services let agency partners access RECOVER from any computer running a web browser without having to acquire and maintain standalone GIS software.

In addition, RECOVER’s architecture will support client applications that run on mobile devices, its developers said.

Partner agencies using the program for Phase 1 testing include Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Lands. 

The RECOVER system will be ready within the next three years and will first be deployed in the Great Basin states of Idaho, Utah and Nevada for use by federal and state agencies.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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