The Race to Build Megafire Prediction Tools

by Adam Popescu,  Bloomberg BusinessWeek

California’s rising temperatures and worsening droughts are accelerating the need for advanced modeling technology.

New technology is aiding the on-the-ground battle against wildfires, but increasingly dangerous weather conditions present escalating challenges. Researchers at New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory have spent nearly 30 years collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service on a three-dimensional modeling program to predict wildfires’ paths.

The Firetec project has evolved over the years from a supercomputer into software that can guide officials in deploying people and equipment and setting controlled fires to ensure nothing in a fire-prone area is left to trigger new conflagrations.

The Forest Service is allocating more of its $2.6-billion fire-suppression budget to predictive modeling that is more practical for fighting wildfires on a day-to-day basis.

While researchers say the program’s modeling and forecasting capabilities have steadily improved, California’s rising temperatures and worsening droughts are making fires hotter, deadlier, more aggressive, and less predictable.  Read the report.

DCL: It would seem that real-time event processing systems to manage battling the fires once they’ve started is also needed. There’s an opportunity there!

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