Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI)

Resilient System Solutions for Using Data in Wildland Fire Incident Operations

Project Overview

In addition to the threat of fire losses in the expanding wildland urban interface, smoke from fires has a direct impact on the air quality, visibility, and atmospheric chemistry. Improving access to information for wildland fire incident operations would improve public safety through effective fire containment.

This project represents a transformational application of networking and data logistics software for operational partners in the wildland fire incident operations logistical support. The National Interagency Fire Center has put in place an enterprise geospatial portal (EGP) to improve the distribution, display, and analysis of geospatial information for wildland fire management. The EGP is a powerful tool that is in need of improved infrastructure for data sharing. Current data delivery capabilities cannot transmit certain large data resources, regularly obstructing wildland firefighting operations by the limitations in the construction and maintenance of ad hoc communication networks.

Text and arrow, description in caption.
Poor network coverage and data portability cause delayed incident command decisions and wildfire containment leading to property damage, injury and death, and environmental impact.

Project Goal

To develop a wildland-fire data logistics network to enhance and extend current operational data sharing capabilities for:

  • Improved firefighter and public safety
  • Better wildland fire predictions
  • More informed fire operations

Objectives

  • Deploy and test prototype hardware-software system with fire operations personnel that integrates the new data sharing system with existing capabilities and relevant data.
  • Co-develop software systems for data logistics based on existing tools, including future proofing and generation of ideas to advance capabilities with further R&D.
  • Work with the wildland fire management community to define specific requirements of an enhanced, resilient data-sharing system.

System Overview

The research planned addresses the need for improved resilience. The WildfireDLN will be designed to make current systems stronger, more integrated, and with more resilient features than current digital networking systems allow. WildfireDLN has three important attributes that directly support resilience concerns: Local operation, intermittent connectivity, and heterogeneous connectivity.

WildfireDLN Key Features

  • Removes data access barriers
  • Multiple distribution modes in dynamic, mobile environments
  • Augment access to critical data repositories (NIFC’s Fire and Aviation Mgmt’s Enterprise Geospatial Portal)

WildfireDLN Tools

  • Develop new/advanced software for data storage & delivery (DLT)
  • Utilize legacy front-end tools (e.g. AFRL ATAK)
  • Augment access to critical data repositories (NIFC’s Fire and Aviation Mgmt’s Enterprise Geospatial Portal) 

WildfireDLN Goal

To deliver rich and informative data with a robust system that supports file transfer and access across disconnected, heterogeneous networks.

Conceptual graphic described in the caption.
Conceptual overview of the WildfireDLN system deployment, and design of the prototype data node (inset). The WildfireDLN directly support resilience in the face of scenarios found in wildland fire operations with local operation and providing solutions for intermittent and heterogeneous connectivity problems. The storage icons (barrels) at the various nodes represent both storage and includes SSD and any other form of medium-to-long term persistence.

Project Outcomes

  • A set of requirements defined by the end-user community in concert with the project team technology experts for improving access to geospatial operational intelligence data and information in an operational setting
  • WildfireDLN, a co-designed prototype of a software-hardware system, built from storage-enabled network components that allows for resilient and effective data sharing and communication during a wildland fire incident
  • Documentation and reporting on system development and testing results of the WildfireDLN