3.5 New Communication Method for Wildland Fire Risk Assesment using Pyrowarn

Friday, 23 June 2017: 11:15 AM
Salon II (InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza)
Daniel Martinez, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain; and A. Fernandez
Manuscript (2.7 MB)

Handout (1.4 MB)

The issue of wildland fires pose serious threats to the conservation of the biodiversity and our tree cover, which is one of our key weapons against the negative effects of the climate change. However, the particularities of this phenomena and the multiple meteorological and orographic variables involved in it, has lead to the lack of tools that provide real time accurate information at microscale levels.

We present a new communication method for assessing and displaying relevant information regarding the wildland fire risk potential. The communication system is integrated in the recently developed software package Pyrowarn, which is a satellite based computer program that evaluates the most relevant risk factors and parameters involving the problematic of wildland fires and elaborates real time risk maps and forecasts of any area of the earth taking into account the short and mid term changes of the meteorological variables related to the process.

Pyrowarn includes an automatic communication technique that periodically delivers reports from previously specified particular areas. The information can be sent in various telematic ways, such as mobile phone, social media or e-mail. This specific functionality intends to ease the evaluation and communication of wildland fire risks, specially, in large or steep areas where the particularities of the terrain impossible in situ real time measurements.

This computer software has been developed with the intention of being a useful source of information for both experts and unexperienced people. For this reason, the software can provide information easily understood for the mainstream public such as adjective indexes, as well as specific parameters of the fire science experts and researchers, such as dead fine fuel moisture content or the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index (FWI) System parameters, which although not being known by the laymen, they do contain valuable information for experts in the field of wildland fire science.

The computed information is based on data acquisition from satellite terrain information and nearby RMS (Remote Meteorological stations), so it is possible to obtain reliable computations from any point of the globe. However, the software allows the user to introduce its own compelled data, so it is possible to improve the reliability of the process if the user is able to incorporate more accurate inputs. Pyrowarn takes into account daily and seasonal variations of the weather and vegetation, as well as historical records, which are translated as relevant parameters in the mathematical model, by implying a particular spatial distribution of the vegetation in a given time. One of the parameters taken into account is the seasonal evolution of NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), which has been proven to have a direct relationship with the vegetation´s state. The algorithm developed can take into account all this variation when determining parameters that affect to the risk indexes.

The user´s interface allows to introduce the desired study location by geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude) or inverse geolocation (name of the place). After a particular region has been selected, the program will automatically obtain the relevant parameters of the chosen place and contact the closest meteorological stations. When this information has been compelled, the user will have to specify the preferred analyze parameters and maps, as well as the frequency of the communication, with which the computed reports will be generated and delivered. Some examples are: email with attached map of potential flame length every 15 minutes, twitter state update of ignition probability map every 6 hours, forecast of Fire Weather Index for the next 24 hours every 2 hours…

This project intends to be a useful technological tool against the issue of wildland fires by providing both a source of information and a communication system, which can be easily used by people, who do not necessary have previous experience without giving up on precision. This functionalities aim to make this software able to be added to the prevention routines of any particular area and incorporate an improvement in terms of accuracy and safety.

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