November 6, 2004
HPWREN sensor data used for setting off real-time alarms for firefighters
First Responders know that weather is the driving force behind most wildfires, and they are utilizing weather data to predict potential wildland fire burning conditions. Management and staffing of firefighting resources from aircraft to fire crews for present and future needs is based upon the fire potential. Experience has shown that under specific weather conditions, small fire ignitions can quickly become very large and destructive wildfires.
Extending on instrumentation described at "Advances in Real-Time
Sensor Data Distribution across HPWREN", the team enhanced the
technology into an early warning system.
This architecture can allow decisions to be made at earlier stages than before, to manage additional resources and staff prior to a wildfire starting under adverse weather conditions. The current parameterization of the data has been developed by CDF Division Chief Randy Lyle, and is based on alert rules of weather sensor data collected as one minute averages. This parameterization is under continuing development, based on experiences gained, and may change over time. Currently an alert is triggered if:
To avoid oscillations of the alert conditions, the clearing of the alarm requires that:
These weather alerts get immediately emailed, including to pagers, and re-issued as daily reminders every morning at 7AM, if the condition persists. The alarm text is short enough for cell phone SMS text paging. An example looks like:
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 05:09:58 -0800
This real-time HPWREN weather data distribution is by now being used to alert First Responders through pager or email alarms for several CDF Chiefs, USFS Chiefs and staff officers, and is currently based on sensors on Mt. Laguna and Lyons Peak.
"Wildland Fire Fighters know that a good size up begins early in the morning when we see what the new day will bring us weather-wise," says Randy Lyle. "With these remote sensors we can now get a big jump on that information, and even in the middle of the night know that wind speed and direction, humidity and fuel moistures are becoming critical. The sensors allow us to verify the fire weather forecasts in real time, so we can begin to plan for fire events much earlier now."
-- Ron Serabia, retired CDF Fire Captain
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