The 2000 wildfire season was one of the worst on record: by mid-August, 64,000 fires had burned an estimated 4.5 million acres and hundreds of structures. More than 25,000 firefighters, 900 fire engines, 200 helicopters, and all available air tankers were deployed.
Interagency Fire Coordination Centers set priorities for deploying fire-fighting resources based on human safety, protecting property, and natural resource values. Using printed maps and situation reports limited the information available to make these decisions. As the 2000 fire season wore on, fire managers asked for real-time geographic information on wildfire status, location, and proximity to life, property, and infrastructure to help them send resources where they were needed most.
Examples of Key PartnersNational Interagency Fire Center, USDI Bureau of Land Management (BLM), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDI Bureau of Indian Affairs, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, USDI National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Results and Accomplishments
The Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination (GeoMAC) Group developed an Internet based mapping tool which allows online access to maps of wild. re locations and perimeters. Using a standard web browser, fire personnel and the public can view information to pinpoint fire areas. Users can manipulate maps, zoom in and out, and print copies for dispatch offices, coordination centers, and briefings. Users can also display information on individual fires such as the name and current acreage.
Sponsored by the National Interagency Fire Center, the USGS Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center developed and maintains the application. The fire perimeter data is provided by on-site wildfire personnel and is updated daily. The USFS Remote Sensing and Applications Center provides thermal satellite data. Situation report data comes from the USFS server in Kansas City. Weather data comes from several agencies including the National Weather Service. In addition to providing on-line data, GeoMAC has a data repository of the perimeter and point fire locations that is available to resource managers, burned area rehabilitation teams, researchers, scientists, and academia. Overall use of GeoMAC has risen sharply: in 2001, the firrst year GeoMAC collected user statistics, there were 1.8 million requests; as of July 2005, there have been 7.4 million requests.Following on GeoMAC’s success, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has partnered with the BLM and the USDA Forest Service to develop a similar site for California fire planning.
GeoMAC improves the distribution of wildland ﬁre information by providing on-line interactive maps, displaying detailed information about where wildland
ﬁres are burning, andsharing the latest wildland ﬁre information.