NASA wants to battle SoCal wildfires by predicting where they start

NASA wants to battle SoCal wildfires by predicting where they start

NASA wants to battle SoCal wildfires by predicting where they start

A ground moisture monitoring system for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory hopes it will be easier to predict when and where wildfires in Southern California and elsewhere are brewing.

The new tool, called the Fire Risk Assessment System (E-SAR), estimates the likelihood of forest fires in fire-exposed areas by satellite measurements of soil moisture.

Once F-DAS comparing moisture levels in a specific region to temperatures and rain temperatures in real time, one can calculate the probability of a forest fire eruption, according to John Reager, the lead scientist project.

The technology was developed in a two-year study funded by NASA. Reager told KPCC that he hopes to have the F-DAS service available to the public by next May before the 2018 fire season.

By identifying the specific plots with the highest probability of fire, US Forest Service authorities and residents may be better prepared for the fires than they are now, he said.

“Putting the right resources in the right places at the start of the season is an opportunity for the entire community to fight fires to get into the fires and do it in the most efficient way possible,” – t said.

In 2015, NASA scientists examined Reager and Seasonal Forecast Forest Service maps. But they found that they were drawn by hand and were not very detailed, Reager said.

“They were just a kind of red areas of spots and green areas that were going to have more fires than usual fire or less,” he said.

Preliminary maps of the F-DAS JPL study show a detailed projection of the likely origin of forest fires. The US Forest Service map is shown at the top right. JPL cards are shown at the bottom left and right.

Preliminary maps of the F-DAS JPL study show a detailed projection of the likely origin of forest fires. The US Forest Service map is shown at the top right. JPL cards are shown at the bottom left and right.

Fire forecasts F-DAS will use networks composed of individual quadrants of 15 square meters. The soil moisture levels in each quadrant will be measured and will probably give a good fire probably, he said.

NASA has an “abundance” of hydrological data collected mainly by three satellites in orbit: Grace, SMAP and ARES, said Reager. This data will become the main source of information for the probabilities of probability F-das.

The US Forest Service currently publishes daily and weekly forecasts on the website through the National Inter-Institutional Fire Center. Reager said NASA is considering joining the service of deploying fire trucks, helicopters and firefighters more strategically.

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