KME Fire Apparatus., a subsidiary of REV Group® and a foremost manufacturer of fire apparatus, announces that Campbell Supply Company is expanding its portfolio and will represent KME Fire Apparatus in designated counties within Eastern Pennsylvania. “At Campbell Supply, our business philosophy has been based on two guiding principles, honesty and integrity,” said Scott Campbell, President of Campbell Supply Company. “It has always been very important to establish a good r...
Wildfire season presents special challenges to firefighters, and environmental trends point to even more frequent wildfires in the future, due to factors such as global warming. Technology, in all its variety, provides new tools to aid departments tasked with fighting wildfires. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the emerging technologies in wildfire prevention and protection?
Thinning forests to prevent wildfires include the removal of diseased trees and other debris by private, state, and federal land managers. The byproduct of that thinning is called woody biomass. Removal of woody biomass from forests can help mitigate disastrous wildfires in fire-prone states like California. Reducing wildfire risk Some of the biomass material is left to decay, is burned in place, or is hauled to landfills. However, this byproduct of reducing wildfire risk can also be used to p...
The Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) program is redesigning the forecasting of fire danger in Australia. It aims to improve public safety and reduce the impacts of bushfires by improving the way that fire danger is calculated and communicated. As one enters the second quarter of 2021, the AFDRS Program is approaching major design milestones that will allow states and territories to trial the new system in parallel with current fire danger ratings. The trial of the AFDRS is a key ste...
Prisoners have played a role in firefighting since 1915 when the first “Conservation Camps” trained incarcerated firefighters with the backing of the Department of Forestry. Especially in the realm of fighting wildfires, incarcerated individuals have in recent years provided low-cost labor amid the dangerous environment of a spreading wildfire. The numbers of incarcerated persons in the United States expanded threefold during the “War on Crime,” which increased the...
Australia will develop a nationally consistent bushfire modeling and prediction capability under an agreement announced between CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and AFAC, the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services. The partnership involves the development of Spark Operational, a cutting-edge bushfire simulation tool based on CSIRO’s ‘Spark’ fire prediction platform. Bushfire prediction opportunities Fire and emergency services agencies across Austr...
Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the USDA Forest Service today announced it surpassed goals and set records in 2020. "2020 was a challenging year, with record wildland fire activity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the Forest Service, we have risen above these challenges and set our minds, hands and hearts to carrying out our mission to meet the needs of the communities we serve," said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. The Forest Service relied on its strong science, innovation and partnerships to overcome this year’s challenges as the agency found new solutions to serve the public during a time of unprecedented need. Creating healthy, productive forests In 2020, the Forest Service provided jobs and stability for local economies through a year of historic timber production, selling more than 3.2 billion board feet of timber, the second highest level in 20 years. The agency also improved forest conditions and reduced wildfire risk on over 2.65 million acres, removing hazardous fuels like dead and downed trees, and combating disease, insect and invasive species infestations. The Forest Service undertook a suite of regulatory reforms to meet the goals of the Secretarial Memorandum to the Chief of the Forest Service modernize and align agency directives with new legislative authorities and reduce regulatory burdens. By the end of December 2020, the Forest Service will have nearly completed all guidance to implement new legislative authorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition, Forest officials quickly began implementing President Trump’s Great American Outdoors Act to increase access to national forests and grasslands and make progress towards reducing the agency’s $5 billion infrastructure backlog. providing for health and safety The Forest Service welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors, many of whom were first time users The Forest Service was successful in prioritizing early suppression of wildfire ignitions while facing a record-breaking fire year, with the most acres burned on national forests since 1910. The agency's modeling research on how COVID-19 may spread between firefighters or in communities during response efforts led to new interagency safety protocols to better support fire camp management. The protocols not only successfully minimized the spread of COVID-19 among the agency's 10,000 firefighters, but early learning suggests the safety measures resulted in additional health benefits to fire crews, reducing ailments common in fire camps, which translated to a healthier and more resilient firefighting workforce available to protect lives, homes, and communities threatened by wildfire. Sharing stewardship responsibilities The Forest Service made significant strides toward Shared Stewardship this year, working more closely than ever with Tribes, States, and local partners to make sure the right work happens in the right place at the right time. So far, 44 states and territories are now involved in a Stewardship Agreement. The agreements allow the Forest Service to employ the latest tools and share decision making on the highest priorities to improve forest conditions across broad landscapes. These new agreements have resulted in increasing resiliency of forests, protection of communities and reduction of wildfire risks. They have also produced jobs and stabilize economies. improving recreation experiences This year, Americans sought out their public lands in tremendous numbers, finding relief in the Great Outdoors, showing once again how public lands unite the nation. In response, the Forest Service generated solutions to ensure visitors had every opportunity to safely use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands during the pandemic. The Forest Service welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors, many of whom were first time users, with 95% expressing satisfaction with their experiences. “Next year, we will continue to build on these successes to improve conditions on America’s national forests and grasslands to ensure they are healthier, more resilient and more productive,” added Chief Christiansen. "We will keep building on the partnerships that make these successes possible and commit to increasing access to better connect people to their natural resources, so these national treasures endure for generations to come.”
The Lafayette City Police Department and an interagency task force joined a survey firm to deal with extensive damage caused by California wildfires that were raging in August and September. One of these, "the CZU lightning complex fire" caused a massive evacuation before destroying 86,509 acres (35,009 ha) and nearly 1500 structures across four communities and two state parks. To assess the worst-hit areas of this particular fire, a WingtraOne drone was used to collect aerial data used to generate 2D and 3D maps of the area. "The mapping not only helps search and rescue and damage assessment, but it also helps us see immediately what's destroyed and what hazards need to be taken care of before we let people back into the area," said John Cornell, Assistant to the Chief of Police at the City of Lafayette Police Department. interagency task force I've seen like half a dozen GoFundMe website fundraisers that have our maps associated with them" The Lafayette Police Department worked as part of an interagency task force and in partnership with GeoAcuity, a geospatial consulting firm, to produce a public-facing portal for stakeholders. The aerial maps provide a form of support for victims of the fire - offering them the information they need, the data their insurance companies need, and, in some cases, the proof they need to raise funds. "I've seen like half a dozen GoFundMe website fundraisers that have our maps associated with them," said Dr. Greg Crutsinger, Director of Applied Research at GeoAcuity. "The WingtraOne drone data is important to a range of people, from the public agencies involved to the residents who are desperate for information." custom elevation terrain Through massive forests and undulating terrain, they covered more than 1500 acres (600 ha) in one day and four flights. "Redwoods are some of the biggest trees in the world, and there aren't a whole lot of areas to launch from in a disaster area like this," Cornell said. "You can't just go onto somebody's property and launch on top of their burned-out house. There are also a lot of crews working. So, we needed to be as safe as possible and be able to predict precisely where the drone would land." With VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) and its custom elevation terrain following feature, WingtraOne overcame the challenges of this complex situation. It covers a massive amount of ground fast for a high-resolution.
The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) released the 2020 NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Position Qualifications (PMS 310-1). NWCG positions enable consistent and uniform performance by personnel mobilized under National Incident Management System - Incident Command System principles (NIMS-ICS). The NWCG Position Catalog provides comprehensive information about each position for which the NWCG establishes qualifications standards. Agency-specific positions, such as those located in the Federal Wildland Fire Qualifications Supplement, are not included. PMS 310-1 is now published as web-based content. Information is still available to print from the position catalog. The NWCG Wildland Fire Position Qualification Flowchart (PMS 308) is also available to print.
For the honor of wildland firefighters who risk it all to protect the forests and natural resources. KIMTEK is proud to introduce the Ford Motor Company Bronco-Filson Wild Fire Vehicle which features the KIMTEK FIRELITE® Fire Rescue skid unit that includes a Darley-Davey Pump, Hannay Reel, and Mercedes Boostlite Forestry Hose. KIMTEK is excited about this collaboration between Ford, Filson and KIMTEK and more excited to see the formation of the Bronco Wild Fund to celebrate wildland firefighters and to help raise awareness and funds to assist in preserving America's Natural Resources and National Forests. KIMTEK thanks Ford Motor Company and Filson for choosing and trusting the design quality of the FIRELITE Transport skids manufactured by KIMTEK Corporation.
Dealing with megatrends is equated time and again with trying to predict the future - one might wish for that often, but only to a very limited extent. Megatrends are nothing more than a summary of developments and currents that have shaped us as a society in many situations in the recent past - economy, politics, technology, culture and many others - and that are slowly but fundamentally changing the world - like this also the fire service world! Blue light organizations The fire brigade trend map 4.0 provides an overview of the most relevant changes and trends that have a direct or indirect influence on fire brigades, their areas of operation, resources and their environment as a whole. In addition, it also gives an outlook on ‘possible’ future scenarios and framework conditions that the fire brigades could be confronted with. As time also brings new knowledge, the content is checked, updated and revised in regular cycles for their value. Well, what has actually changed since the last fire department trend map? As time also brings new knowledge, the content is checked, updated and revised in regular cycles for their value In principle, it can be anticipated that the megatrends connectivity, neo-ecology, mobility and health have noticeably increased in relevance for the fire service sector. Terms such as digitization, Internet of Things or Big Data are inevitably linked to connectivity which in many ways can be found more and more in the context of the blue light organizations and are gaining acceptance there. Essential key factor Access to and seamless processing of vehicle data as well as traffic and infrastructure information for the benefit of the smooth handling of operations, IOT-supported real-time navigation in closed buildings or robotics systems that carry out autonomous missions are just a few examples that show what is already possible with current technology. The ongoing climate crisis and phenomena such as heavy rain events, prolonged periods of heat and devastating forest fires have brought environmental concerns back into the limelight among people and politics. The intensity and frequency with which such weather phenomena occur present the fire brigades with challenges that are difficult to overcome. In this context, prevention and early detection become an essential key factor. The megatrend neo-ecology also deals intensively with sustainable technologies. Accidental electric vehicles The main focus of the health megatrend is people's increasing health awareness Alternative forms of propulsion and energy generation play a major role, which fire brigades will increasingly be confronted with in the future - especially when it comes to dealing with accidental electric vehicles, lithium-ion battery fires, etc. Linked to this is the megatrend of mobility, in which, in addition to the topic of autonomous driving, car sharing and micro mobility, drones, whether as manned air taxis or unmanned, autonomously flying transport units, are gaining in importance. When it comes to security, the General Data Protection Regulation and the topic of cybercrime are particularly important cornerstones that must be considered. But smart homes are also a potential risk when it comes to cybercrime - whether they have positive advantages for their users. The main focus of the health megatrend is people's increasing health awareness. Fire service sector In the fire service sector, this is noticeable, among other things, in that more and more attention is paid to emergency site hygiene, strict black-and-white separation in the event of pollution or the reduction of physical stress is respected. In the future, the monitoring of vital and health parameters, which is now easily possible using conventional fitness watches and straps, can reduce the health risk during strenuous activities. One trend that has been boosted by the current COVID-19 pandemic is new work One trend that has been boosted by the current COVID-19 pandemic is new work. Mobile workplaces and home offices have caused an uproar in the world of work in recent months and are forcing companies to rethink their approach to more flexible working methods. In comparison, the globalization trend is experiencing a slight damper - it is currently being rethought. Essential influencing factors Since the importance of shortened supply chains and regional productions has become apparent in the last few months, regional and local added value in particular is gaining relevance again. Of course, the silver society megatrends, gender shift, knowledge culture, individualization and urbanization continue to have an impact on the fire brigade and its environment, albeit not with the same intensity as those mentioned above. Likewise, in discussions with fire service experts and on the basis of secondary research results, four drivers were defined which should be considered as essential influencing factors for the entire fire service trend landscape, regardless of trend influences. On the one hand, this concerns the speed and dynamism with which trends prevail and new technologies are established, and on the other, migration and politics, which specifies the relevant framework conditions and thus exerts a constant influence on the fire service. If one would like to know what exactly is behind the mega and macro trends, Rosenbauer would like to invite everyone to take a look at the digital Rosenbauer fire department trend map.
With more than two dozen major wildfires as well as over 12,000 emergency incidents, and over 1.1 million acres burned, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a thick blanket of smoke continues to hang low in the skies in Northern California. NasalGuard® Airborne Particle Blocker responds to the devastating fires raging across Northern California with the launch of the ‘Breathe Easier Smoke Inhalation Donation’ program. NasalGuard® Airborne Particle Blocker is an ionic particle blocking topical nasal gel that prevents harmful airborne particles from entering the nose. Potential drug interactions The product is drug-free and safe for children, the elderly, pregnant or nursing women, and those concerned about potential drug interactions with other medications. NasalGuard is a unique product that can help people protect themselves from harmful smoke inhalation. To help support Firefighters and their Families in Northern California dealing with the danger of serious smoke inhalation problems, NasalGuard Airborne Particle Blocker ‘Breathe Easier Smoke Inhalation Donation’ program offers relief through donation of their patented airborne particle blocker. Inhalation of airborne particles With the current situation in Northern California and with the pandemic, our goal is to offer some relief" Through the program, NasalGuard is offering free donations to Firefighters and healthcare professionals in Northern California that would like to try NasalGuard gel for themselves, or place of work. "NasalGuard has been proven to reduce the inhalation of airborne particles, including smoke inhalation, virus-sized particles and contaminants, when applied outside the nasal passages prior to exposure," says Ashok Wahi, engineer and co-inventor of NasalGuard. "With the current situation in Northern California and with the pandemic, our goal is to offer some relief," adds Kanika Wahi, engineer and co-inventor of NasalGuard. Oppositely charged particles NasalGuard has donated thousands of units during the pandemic to hospitals, healthcare workers and charitable non-profit organizations. A pin-sized drop of the preventative product is applied around the nostrils and above the upper lip and lasts up to six hours. Patented NasalGuard gel uses a cationic (positively charged) polymer that creates a safe electrostatic field around the nasal passages that traps oppositely charged particles and repels similarly charged particles to reduce inhalation of most harmful airborne particles before they enter one's body. NasalGuard gel provides an electrostatic blocking effect that is effective against a wide spectrum of sub-microscopic indoor and outdoor contaminants including smoke, mold, pollen, pet dander, pollution, and virus-sized particles.
From August to November, areas of Western North America brace for fire seasons that grow increasingly more destructive. 2020, in particular, has brought the United States some of the most destructive wildfires seen throughout US history. In California alone, over 4 million acres have been burned in over 9 thousand incidents, claiming 31 lives and over 10 thousand structures. When looking at the totality of fire damage in all of Western North America, this number nearly doubles, with over 8 million acres devastated by fires. This staggering number is 2 million more than the previous 10-year average, which points to the continual increase in fires affecting homes, businesses, and lives in the areas in which they run rampant. With the winter bringing even more potential for fires to emerge in Southern California as warming and drying conditions create the perfect opportunity for fires to spread, the need for fire-resistant homes has never been greater. A Recipe for Disaster Since the 1800s, air temperatures have steadily continued to rise. While globally, these temperatures have risen by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, California has experienced a rise in temperatures by nearly 3 degrees. Since the 1800s, air temperatures have steadily continued to riseThis drastic increase in temperature results in the hot air being able to hold more water vapor, draining moisture from plants and soil. Drier soils and vegetation create the perfect environment for fires to rapidly spread through the easily burned fuel. Since the 1970s, Cal Fire has extended the fire season by 84 days but has also publicly stated that there is no longer what they consider to be a “fire season” since fires affect the state throughout the year. Homes facing the greatest threat from the fires are those built on the “wildland-urban interface,” or the areas where homes are located close to open space overgrown with brush and foliage. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has identified nearly 5 million homes and 200 communities located within this vulnerable zone, making the need for fire-resistant building essential. Building Fire-Resistant Homes With 10,488 structures destroyed in the 2020 California wildfires, building fire-resistant homes are important for the safety and longevity of the occupants and the structure. Wood building materials have been ranked third as the first-combusted material in home fires by the National Fire Protection Association. Materials like steel provide increased protection against firesThis makes the material extremely dangerous, especially in areas that often face the threat of destructive wildfires. Homebuilders need to consider this important fact when designing the homes to be built, especially in the Western US. Materials like steel provide increased protection against fires, as steel is non-combustible and does not provide a source of fuel for fires. Instead of wood, which easily combusts when temperatures reach over 500 degrees, steel studs do not ignite when exposed to the same temperatures. Without the ability to add fuel to a spreading fire, steel studs protect the integrity of a home’s structure. Even if other non-combustible materials are used during construction, the failure to build a non-combustible steel frame will spell disaster for a home facing a wildfire. With steel as a primary building material, homeowners can benefit from lower costs of home insurance, in addition to the increased protection from fires. Some contractors are using prefabricated steel frame wrappings that are covered in non-combustible insulation. Many are also implementing metal roofs in newer constructions. Emerging building methods and materials However, besides steel, there are many emerging building methods and materials that offer fire protection. As people rebuild their homes from the fires of this year, a trend that has emerged includes incorporating solid wall construction. This construction method provides no materials for a fire to burn, as it is concrete on the inside, followed by a layer of foam insulation, and covered with more concrete or stucco.Other construction methods include steel grids with foam inside Other construction methods include steel grids with foam inside, that are then covered with concrete blown onto the frame. This method can provide the home with fire resistance for up to 4 hours, giving the home enough time for the fire to pass. New home designs are also passing up on attics and soffit vents, which can allow embers to blow inside and ignite the home. In addition to the construction of a home itself, landscaping methods can further protect the home from wildfires. If the area surrounding a home is filled with dry, combustible vegetation, the fire will be able to quickly engulf the home, spelling disaster if the house is not built with fire-resistant materials. The Future of Construction As the danger and devastation of wildfires continue to increase, construction needs to adapt to protect homes and the lives that live inside them. There has never been a greater need for home builders to adopt fire-resistant home building methods, since each year, the incidence of fire grows at an increasing rate. Fire-resistant homes are the future, especially in areas such as California, where drought and dry conditions create the perfect recipe for the fast-spreading wildfires. Non-combustible materials such as steel are playing an integral role in this space, as it does not add additional fuel to a fire that is already burning out of control. When combined with other fire-resistant building methods, homes are better protected from destruction. Hopefully, as these methods see an increase in their adoption, fires will destroy fewer homes and claim fewer lives.
Every day, across the globe, emergency services teams come to people’s aid no matter the situation to ensure their safety. Whether it’s during a natural disaster, or at a significant event, the emergency services are on hand to face any challenge that comes their way. When supporting this crucial workforce, it is essential that they have robust and reliable connectivity. Technology is becoming a vital aspect of public safety and security worldwide, and this trend is only likely to grow. For these new devices to work effectively, full-scale coverage must be in place, and when it comes to people’s safety, there is no room for error. The need for redundancy and high bandwidth Two of the paramount tools at emergency services disposal are video surveillance and communication devices. Constant visibility and communication are often essential to protecting people and saving lives. The benefits range from providing first responders with a clear picture and understanding of the situation they are about to encounter; to providing greater safety during public events by enabling officers to control crowds and manage traffic effectively. Enhancing visibility and sharing information is particularly crucial during fires to guide firefighters and vehicles through flames and smoke, and to allow the central command center to organize resources effectively. Technology is becoming a vital aspect of public safety and security worldwide, and this trend is only likely to grow Despite any potential challenges ensuring network connectivity may create, public safety organizations cannot compromise when it comes to optimizing security. For IP video surveillance and cellphone broadband connectivity to operate effectively, they require redundancy and high bandwidth. Without these connectivity attributes, devices become useless; for example, there are municipalities where as much as 50 percent of the camera network is offline because of poor product choices and inferior network design and installation. Equally, poor quality networking can be just as limiting as it can lead to public safety organizations being unable to receive real-time data. All areas must also have adequate bandwidth to access data, such as on-scene video, aerial imagery, maps, and images, and many existing public safety networks do not have that capacity. Supporting security and safety robotics Robots and drones have seen a considerable increase in popularity this year, with 60 million such machines being deployed according to ABI Research. They offer a wealth of potential to emergency services teams, whether on land, air, or sea. For example, water rescue robots can go where humans cannot, earthquake and fire robots can search through otherwise non-navigable areas, and drones can survey vast regions. However, for these wireless devices to work effectively, they rely on many features. They need low power consumption so as not to heavily burden the onboard power source of the robotic device and, perhaps, a high level of encryption so information cannot be stolen or hacked. There are also benefits to security and safety as robotic devices can communicate with one another peer-to-peer. Directly mounting radios to robots and drones, fosters dynamic self-learning, data sharing, and more wireless paths in the event one or more of the devices in an area do not have a link to fixed infrastructure. Water rescue robots can go where humans cannot, earthquake and fire robots can search through otherwise non-navigable areas, and drones can survey vast regions The main component that security and safety robotics require is redundant and resilient connections. If the connection is lost, the connected device will go into “safe” mode and stop. Creating a high capacity network that supports mobile devices in complex and fast-moving environments is not a simple task. In many cases, it requires a network that supports many wireless connections and allows for many paths in and out, so that if a link is lost, another path is available for data transmission and reception. This type of network is the best way to ensure that police, firefighters, and emergency units can access and send large amounts of data from wherever they are and in real-time making a massive difference to the efficiency of the emergency services. An example of this is Rajant’s private Kinetic Mesh® network, a wireless network ensuring no single point of failure. It offers reliable, intelligent, and secure wireless broadband connectivity that survives and thrives in evolving and mobility-driven environments. It forms a “living” mesh network that can move with and adapt to the evolving communication requirements of public safety organizations. Technology in action Back in October 2019, the heat from the sun, combined with winds gusting through the foothills of El Capitán Canyon in California, sparked a bush fire in the overly dry, desert hills. Despite four hundred and twenty acres being burnt, firefighters used their experience and skills combined with newfound digital technology to ensure that no structures were damaged, and there were no reported injuries. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Cal Fire, the U.S Forest Service, and other agencies were immediately dispatched to contain the fire. More than 200 firefighters were needed to combat the fire and reinforce containment lines with helicopters and drones in the air and bulldozers on the ground. To operate this equipment, mesh radio nodes, bonded cellular, and satellite technologies were used to link the communication gap in locations where signals are often dropped. Rajant BreadCrumb® nodes were mounted to the fire-breaking, 30-ton bulldozers manned by trained firefighters to uproot vegetation and eliminate the materials that would further spread the fire. Robots and drones have seen a considerable increase in popularity this year, with 60 million such machines being deployed The reliable connectivity allowed the bulldozers to not only easily communicate with each other and the base, but also to send video footage and data to the tactical truck and central command post over cellular and SAT networks. This situational awareness data transfer allowed for greater efficiency, as well as increased safety for the public and the firefighters. Reliability when you need it most Reliable connectivity solutions are being embraced across the emergency services due to the innumerable benefits they bring to ensuring the safety of the public. For police, firefighters, and emergency units, dependable connectivity allows for rapid, real-time response, and the use of technology can save lives in ways that wouldn’t have seemed possible a decade ago. Planned and unplanned events can benefit from the new technology being introduced, and emergency services need to make sure they have the network capabilities to support them. For environments that are challenging and hostile, this requires a network available on-demand, which can withstand the demands of harsh conditions and mobility while maintaining a level of redundancy and high bandwidth that allows for accessing and sending large amounts of data from any location.
As we continue to settle into our new norm brought on by COVID-19, it’s become hard to imagine what the world will look like on the other side. If ever there were a clearer definition of a paradigm shift in the making, it’s this time. Yet, it’s not the only paradigm that has shifted in the last few years. As the climate has continued to change, helping to create more fuel for wildfires, we’re experiencing compounding changes at a global scale. And, the light at the end of the tunnel for COVID-19 might just be another big fire season. Yet, this fire season will be different. New ways to respond Although we’ll almost certainly continue to act as communities, helping each other through the next calamities, what’s clear is that we’re going to require new ways to respond. Knowing what we know now about natural disasters, like fires, floods, and hurricanes, as well as our current experience with a global pandemic, if we’ve learned nothing else it’s that we must begin to design for disaster. Designing for disaster is about planning for the paradigm to shift once again This is not about designing for panic and fear. Rather, designing for disaster is about planning for the paradigm to shift once again. For instance, with the 2020 fire season right around the corner, now is a good time to start taking stock and creating plans for how to deal with it. Unlike the last few fire seasons, this one will be different. According to the “Chief's Letter of Intent for Wildland Fire – 2020”, the US Fire Service will be changing its “fire management options during the COVID-19 pandemic across the board to adjust to this unprecedented challenge.” The objectives laid out in this letter are a reflection of the compounding change we’re seeing, which include “Minimize to the extent feasible COVID-19 exposure and transmission and smoke exposure to firefighters and communities”; “Commit resources only when there is a reasonable expectation of success in protecting life and critical property and infrastructure”; “Encourage innovation and the use of doctrine for local adaptations”; and “Develop methods for broad information sharing given changed conditions”, among others. Planning for uncertainty We must seek to protect lives by developing new ways to work together So, what can we do to plan for this uncertain future? In many ways, the answer is spelled out in this above-mentioned letter. We must seek to protect lives by developing new ways to work together, share information, and plan using innovative tools and methods. Just as we all collectively found Zoom as a great way to connect with our friends, family, and colleagues, during the COVID-19 shelter in place, we’ll begin to use other digital tools to get updates and communicate with emergency responders and the community at large. In fact, there are myriad tools in place, like Nextdoor, Neighbor, and even Facebook, that enable most of us to do this on a regular basis. Likewise, when it comes to planning and communication between first responders, whether they be firefighters, police, paramedics, or emergency management officials, new technologies abound, like Tablet Command, that enable first responders to connect and understand the common operational picture like never before. What’s more, as these technologies continue to scale, they will no doubt connect communities and emergency management personnel (as well as new data sources, like up-to-the-minute satellite imagery) in new ways that enable engagement and planning to occur way before an incident even occurs. In fact, as the world continues to rally around communicating in new ways, new entrants like Zonehaven, a startup based on San Francisco, are doing just this. Using a familiar Google Maps-style interface and data-driven approach to engage communities and first responders around evacuation planning, defensible space, right-of-way issues and neighborhood exercises, Zonehaven is focused on helping entire communities communicate and respond to disasters, like wildfires, even before the initial spark. Drive for change And it’s not just technology companies that are driving this change. In wildfire-prone communities, like San Mateo County, officials are bringing in new technologies, like Zonehaven and others, to “provide access to cutting-edge technology that allows emergency planners and local officials to better understand a community’s risk and help residents plan safe evacuation routes.” In essence, by supporting hyperlocal pre-planning, early detection, community collaboration and real-time detection/alerting, San Mateo County is actively redesigning how the county and all of its constituent services, from firefighters to police to emergency management and even parking control, are planning for a future where wildfires and other emergencies are more abundant and communities more engaged and informed. As change continues to compound on itself, creating entirely new norms, it’s imperative that we don’t lose sight of what makes us human. We have the capacity to plan, communicate, innovate, and build tools meant to help us stay one step ahead of change. After all, the more things change, the more they’ll stay the same.
Wildfires represent extreme instances of the deadly destructiveness of fire. There seem to be more wildfires every year, and there are certainly larger and more deadly wildfires all over the world than ever before. Wildfires dominate the public perception of the most extreme consequences of fire. This look back at 2020 will highlight some of the articles about wildfires published by TheBigRedGuide.com, with links to the full-length original articles. The wildfire season in 11 Western U.S. states started out slower than last year. In the first half of the season, wildfires in the Arctic reached new levels, especially in Alaska and Siberia. Larger fires burning Wildfires in the West killed 160 people and caused $40 billion in damage in the past two years, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The trend is toward larger fires burning more acres – especially in years that are warm. Early in 2020, Australia was the epicenter of a wildfire disaster. Persistent heat and drought exacerbated the wildfires, and there have been fires in every Australian state, although New South Wales has been hardest hit. Strong winds have spread smoke and fire rapidly and led to fatalities. Big cities like Melbourne and Sydney have been affected; large fires have damaged homes in the outer suburbs and smoke has destroyed air quality in urban areas. Whole towns have been engulfed in flames. Active wildfire season Another cause of recent wildfires was lightning with more than 10,000 lightning strikes sparking 376 fires In the context of wildfires, even seemingly minor events can have a very large impact. For example, an explosion of blue-colored smoke on Sept. 5, 2020, in Yucalpa, California, was the beginning of a large wildfire in El Dorado Ranch Park. The pyrotechnic device was essentially a smoke bomb designed to send plumes of pink or blue smoke rising into the air, designating the gender of an expected baby. Another cause of recent wildfires was lightning with more than 10,000 lightning strikes sparking 376 fires on Aug 16 and 17, 2020. The global pandemic presented complications for firefighters during what will the active wildfire season. Firefighting manpower could be diminished by the pandemic; training sessions have been canceled, postponed, or conducted remotely. And travel risks undermine the traditional approach of calling on firefighters from throughout the country or around the world to help fight the wildfires. Addressing forest management Social distancing is at odds with the teamwork and camaraderie that characterize firefighting units. Communal basecamps where everyone eats and sleeps together are unworkable during the pandemic. Instead, smaller camps are the rule, and packaged meals are delivered to each camp. Smaller teams reduce the need for widespread quarantine if someone tests positive for the novel coronavirus. Drones are a tool to address forest management and wildfire prevention. Drones are finding multiple uses when it comes to fighting and preventing wildfires. One application is to drop self-igniting ‘dragon eggs’ that spark smaller fires to trim back overgrown forests and help prevent more destructive megafires. The dragon egg system is made up of self-igniting plastic spheres – about the size of a ping-pong ball. Dragon eggs have been an industry standard for years, usually dropped from planes or helicopters. Burnable plant material Researchers are looking to apply new approaches in address the risk of wildfires The spheres are filled with potassium permanganate powder and injected with glycol as an igniter just as they are being dropped. The reaction sets the balls ablaze after about 30 seconds, which is enough time for them to bounce to the ground through a forest canopy. Researchers are looking to apply new approaches in address the risk of wildfires. They include tools such as deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand wildfires and to control their intensity. The model could be used to reveal areas of greatest risk for wildfires. A new deep learning model uses remote sensing and satellite data to trace fuel moisture levels across 12 Western states, in effect tracking the amount of easily burnable plant material and how dry it is. Damaging impacts of wildfires Science shows clearly that the way to reduce the damaging impacts of wildfires and threats to life and property is to proactively manage ecosystems that evolved with fire. This means reintroducing fire in the right ways and places combined with mimicking the effects of fire on forest structure through mechanical treatments. “Rocky Mountain Research Station's Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program (RMRS) focuses on the science of risk management from ways that they can treat fuels and mitigate risks to helping communities assess and mitigate risk and be more resilient,” says Thomas C. Dzomba, Deputy Program Manager and Director of the Fire Modeling Institute. Understanding the underlying causes of wildfires enables us to control them better over the long haul. Enhancing fire science With a primary goal of enhancing fire science, the lab also impacts operational fire response One element is climate change, which has created conditions prone to wildfires by increasing heat, changing rain and snow patterns, and shifting plant communities. But there are also other contributing factors in the growing scale and intensity of wildfires. One is the condition of the forests in Australia, California, and other areas where the incidence of wildfires has increased. In California, for example, it is well known that the forests are unhealthy and in need of more prescribed burns and other thinning efforts. On the front line of turning data into useful information to advance fire science is the WIFIRE Lab at the University of California San Diego. The WIFIRE lab grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). With a primary goal of enhancing fire science, the lab also impacts operational fire response, increasingly in real time. Wildfire risk monitoring The tragic Camp Fire in November 2018, which burned for 17 days in Butte County, near the city of Paradise, Calif., has prompted research to improve risk management and monitoring of wildfires in the future. The vision of the research is ‘a computational platform for multi-level wildfire risk assessment.’ The researchers seek to redefine wildfire risk monitoring and management to provide a platform that can be used by wildfire managers, emergency responders and utility companies to plan for, respond to, and mitigate the risk of wildfires. In Australia, new resources are addressing the growth of wildfires. Preventing and controlling wildfires Andrew and Nicola Forrest have committed 50 million Australian dollars (US$35 million) to the Fire and Flood Resilience initiative through Minderoo Foundation, with a goal of raising an additional 450 million (US$320 million) in direct or in-kind support over the life of the program. The goal of the ambitious investment is to make Australia the pioneer in fire and flood resistance by the year 2025 The goal of the ambitious investment is to make Australia the pioneer in fire and flood resistance by the year 2025. It is an audacious vision that requires an innovative approach, and the organization takes inspiration from the U.S. Apollo mission of the 1960s. In effect, it will be a ‘moonshot’ to advance the cause of preventing and controlling wildfires. Specifically, the first mission, Fire Shield, seeks to ensure no dangerous bushfire in Australia will burn longer than an hour by 2025. Local fire departments The biggest risk of property damage and injury from wildfires comes at the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which is defined as areas where structures and the built environment begin to intermingle with wildland vegetation. More and more such areas are being created as humans move near wildland areas to take advantage of their natural beauty and privacy. The ‘Ready, Set, Go! (RSG!)’ Program works to increase engagement by local fire departments with residents that live in areas at risk of wildland fires. A program of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), ‘Ready, Set, Go!’ offers the tools and resources for fire departments to provide more understanding of the risk of wildland fires and the actions residents should take to reduce the risk.
Public and firefighter safety is the number one priority at the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) in Missoula, Mont. The Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program there seeks to develop tools and technology that can help protect people and communities before, during, and after wildfires. RMRS develops and delivers innovative science and technology to improve the health and use of the nation’s forests and grasslands. Their scientists put tools and knowledge into the hands of managers who can apply them to shared stewardship projects designed to reduce fuels and improve habitat and forest health. enhanced firefighter safety The fire research program has enhanced firefighter safety by improving metrics for determining firefighter safety zones and escape routes, improving and modernizing determination of fire danger, and developing systems and applications such as the Wildfire Safety Evaluator (WiSE) and WildfireSAFE to facilitate use of these metrics by wildland firefighters. The program has also pioneered the development of metrics for scenario planning and assessing wildfire risk to communities. RMRS scientists are leaders in the science of risk management, fire behavior, fire suppression and management, and treating fuels to mitigate risks, as well as post-fire impacts to watersheds and methods to help protect people and communities before, during, and after wildfires. proactive fire management USDA Forest Service is a science-based organization, and research has been part of its mission since its inception “We need to work with our interagency firefighters and industry partners to move us to a more proactive fire management posture,” says Thomas C. Dzomba, Deputy Program Manager and Director of the Fire Modeling Institute at the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program. “We are all in this together.” USDA Forest Service is a science-based organization, and research has been part of its mission since its inception in 1905. In 1908, forester Raphael Zon, declared “Here we will plant the first tree of research,” near Flagstaff, Ariz., at the Fort Valley Experiment Station. It later became the Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, and eventually combined in 1953 with the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. providing economic opportunities The combination created the modern footprint of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, which covers 12 states in the intermountain west and includes 14 experimental forests and 14 labs, including the fire sciences lab in Missoula, Mont. The team in Missoula collaborates with researchers globally to advance forest inventory and analysis techniques, to promote science that enhances the wildland fire system, and to provide economic opportunities by improving utilization of wood products. RMRS also conducts extensive research on watersheds, wildlife and fish, rangeland and forest health, insects and diseases, wilderness, human interactions with natural resources, and much more. The Human Performance and Innovation and Organizational Learning (HP&IOL) team is a part of RMRS and serves the entire agency in order to promote a culture of learning and foster a resilient workforce and advance innovations. fire management efforts There are many examples of how fire research can help in adapting to fire on the landscapes that evolved with it HP&IOL seeks input from employees through verbal and written interviews, focus groups, and other means. Additionally, many of the research staff work directly in support of fire management efforts, enabling them to quickly see what could make fire management or prescribed fire more efficient or safer. To promote better understanding of the importance of fire research, the fire industry should talk to partners, community leaders, and the public and show them how science helped improve decision-making before and during fire suppression efforts. There are many examples of how fire research can help in adapting to fire on the landscapes that evolved with it. For example, where have fuel treatments helped buffer communities or important resources? helping protect communities “We should tell our success stories,” says Dzomba. “Ultimately the best safety measure is to not have to fight the fire, because we’ve learned to adapt, developed mitigations and treated fuels before fire occurs to help protect communities and create more resilient landscapes.”
A wealth of data is used to track the course of wildfires and guide an effective firefighting response. Computers crunch the data using software and a computing infrastructure to yield information in the form of wildfire modeling and better situational awareness to guide fire service response. On the front line of turning data into useful information to advance fire science is the WIFIRE Lab at the University of California San Diego. The WIFIRE lab grew out of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). With a primary goal of enhancing fire science, the lab also impacts operational fire response, increasingly in real time. Complex natural disasters “Wildfires are complex natural disasters that are caused by many changing systems like weather and landscape,” says Ilkay Altintas, Ph.D., WIFIRE Founder and Director. “Ongoing observations using modern technology and analysis of changes using artificial intelligence are helpful to augment fire science and response efforts.” The mission of the WIFIRE Lab is to provide a collaborative and transparent framework to bridge data, artificial intelligence and computing with fire science and its application to practice. “We are envisioning this framework to extend to the modeling and management of disasters beyond fires in the long term, such as floods and smoke plumes," adds Altintas. The mission of the WIFIRE Lab is to provide a collaborative and transparent framework to bridge data, artificial intelligence and computing with fire science and its application to practice Detecting smoke patterns WIFIRE Labs analyzes climate data such as wind speeds and direction provided by utility company weather stations Much of the work at WIFIRE involves automating processes and creating workflows ‘behind the scenes’ to crunch a variety of data, sometimes using supercomputers, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The resulting ‘data assimilation’ provides valuable tools to advance the science of fire and to facilitate the work of firefighters. Among the goals is to provide ever-faster and more accurate intelligence, even for rapidly moving fires that have previously defied real-time computer analysis. WIFIRE Labs analyzes climate data such as wind speeds and direction provided by utility company weather stations, the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Forest service. Conditions such as moisture levels help to predict the course of a fire. Satellite imagery can detect smoke patterns, the hottest areas of fires, which areas are still burning and how they will likely continue to expand. Multiple weather forecasts Guiding WIFIRE Labs’ research is close collaboration with fire departments, including the Los Angeles and Orange County Fire Departments. They provide “Regular feedback about what they want out of the interface,” says Jessica Block, WIFIRE Associate Director for Operational Programs. “It is a direct product of close collaboration with firefighters.” “Being able to monitor our environment requires putting all the data together,” says Block. “Understanding how fires are behaving and changing the environment is important and available to the entire fire community.” A data portal and public interface is called FIREMAP. Fire agencies can request accounts and use the system to run predictive models to help with firefighting. For example, they can project the possible course of a fire based on multiple weather forecasts. Understanding how fires are behaving and changing the environment is important and available to the entire fire community Active fire perimeters The community knows there is a need for additional models to serve the need" FIREMAP is a decision-support and information tool that analyzes and visualizes data and makes it available to decision makers in a format that informs and assists them before, during and after a wildfire event. The map interface can show a variety of information such as active fire perimeters, weather conditions, wind direction, satellite images, local video camera views, surface fuels, etc. The currently used fire model is called FARSITE, but it was not designed for rapidly moving fires. “The community knows there is a need for additional models to serve the need,” says Block. For example, how are fire models different for fires fueled by surface grasses and shrubs versus those fueled in a conifer forest environment? Fire perimeter mapping The Fire Integrated Real-time Intelligence System (FIRIS) Pilot Program seeks to leverage enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to identify early onset fires using fixed wing aircraft equipped with aerial infrared (IR) computerized mapping. WIFIRE Labs is building a system that can enable the AI community to apply its tools to solving fire science problems The program provides better early intelligence, including initial real-time fire perimeter mapping within five minutes of aircraft arrival. Real-time intelligence from such a system is a game-changer. Data from historic fires aid in modeling future events. ‘Educating’ an AI system using historic data helps to inform smarter models for next year’s fires. WIFIRE Labs is building a system that can enable the AI community to apply its tools to solving fire science problems. The program provides better early intelligence, including initial real-time fire perimeter mapping within five minutes of aircraft arrival Advanced systems research For example, how can satellite imagery be used to better understand how vegetation has changed? The payoff from AI and other advanced systems research will likely happen in future fire seasons. Some of the fire systems use supercomputers such as the one at UC San Diego, or even systems in the cloud. However, much of the data is leveraged using everyday desktop computers. “We know how to leverage supercomputers when we need them, and how to take advantage of them,” says Block. “But we don’t use them if we don’t need them, and our systems are available to users and research partners.”
The flames and billowing smoke rose high enough to veil as an acre of bone-dry grasslands was ignited by a slow, fiery ooze belching from something called a drip torch. The initial wave of heat could have easily seared the clothing of the sturdy crew of firefighters who purposely set this section of land aflame, but they knew which way the wind was blowing and lit accordingly. That is what a prescribed burn looks like. USDA Forest Service employees repeat similar scenarios on national forests and grasslands across the U.S. Why start wildfires? The Forest Service conducts prescribed burns, assisting Mother Nature to create safer wildfire conditions The simple response is that all fire is not bad, nor is there only one kind of fire. In fact, many of the wildlands in the U.S. rely on fire to remain healthy. When conditions are safe, with calm winds and low temperatures, the Forest Service conducts prescribed burns, assisting Mother Nature to create safer wildfire conditions. By burning under planned weather conditions, they can better manage the thick smoke that can come with out-of-control wildfires, and make the communities safer by removing some of the dry, dead debris that builds upon the forest floor. Forest Service researchers study prescribed fire in the lab and on forests. Using experimental prescribed burns, they collect valuable information about fire behavior, fuels and emissions to then help managers better implement prescribed fire. Scientists from across the agency work with universities, industry, and other agencies to study fire and develop tools to help land managers. USDA scientists teamed with experts at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Tall Timbers Research Station to develop the computer-based QUIC-Fire tool that rapidly predicts complex fire behavior. The tool shows how weather and fuel conditions affect ignition patterns, fire effects, and smoke impacts. The scientists continue to study how prescribed fires can best mimic “good” wildfire so that native plant and wildlife species can thrive, carbon pools are maintained, and forests are better able to survive drought. Wildfire Management Prescribed fire is a part of a larger approach to wildfire management Prescribed fire is just one part of a larger approach to wildfire management. When weather conditions heat up and dry out, the Forest Service works to prevent and contain fires that could threaten communities. They also use mechanical equipment to clear out dead and dying undergrowth and thin dense areas to improve tree mortality. This keeps the forests and grasslands healthy and resilient to severe wildfire and drought. None of this would be possible without the scientists, who continue to create better models and tools to help understand how to best engage with fire – proactively and in real-time.
As Australia takes careful steps to re-open its borders and economy, public safety personnel have continued to serve on the frontline throughout the nation’s lockdown owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic spread. This year has delivered extraordinary challenges for Australia’s public safety agencies, from managing safety and physical distancing in the field, to maintaining interoperable communication across state borders, during the intense pressure of natural disasters, as well as cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure. APX NEXT mission-critical P25 public safety radio Motorola Solutions has announced the launch of its next-gen APX NEXT mission-critical P25 public safety radio in Australia Motorola Solutions has announced the launch of its APX NEXT in Australia, a next-generation, mission-critical Project 25 (P25) public safety radio with LTE for enhanced communications and secure, data-centric applications. The smart radios feature ViQi, a first of its kind, public safety virtual assistant that enables users to quickly manage radio controls through simple and intuitive voice commands. The highly rugged smart radio is also built to military standards, is fully submersible and has a touchscreen that can be operated in any weather and while wearing gloves. Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communication Con Balaskas, Motorola Solutions Vice President and Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, said the purpose-built smart radio from Motorola Solutions is designed to combat the unique challenges posed by Australia’s tough public safety environment. Balaskas said, “Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communication has always been a first responder’s lifeline. That’s never more apparent than when disaster strikes and teams depend on instant, reliable voice communication to safely manage emergency response.” Interoperable access to voice communication “APX NEXT increases both the value and reach of reliable, mission critical communication, providing interoperable access to voice communication as well as essential application services to pinpoint the location of officers in the field, collaborate via multimedia services and help to keep people and communities safe,” Balaskas adds. He further stated, “With first responders facing new challenges including the need to maintain safety and social distancing in the field, ViQi enables them to control the radio hands-free using voice commands. This helps to ensure they can protect their focus on what’s happening around them at all times.” Embedded LTE connectivity The smart radios are one of the newest mission-critical P25 radio offerings in Motorola Solutions’ APX portfolio The smart radios are one of the newest mission-critical P25 radio offerings in Motorola Solutions’ purpose-built APX portfolio. With embedded LTE connectivity, the radio provides a range of application services to increase safety and productivity, with rich data capabilities and extended voice coverage to improve users’ situational awareness in the field. “APX NEXT was created after more than 2,000 hours of extensive field research and testing with numerous law enforcement agencies,” said Scott Mottonen, Motorola Solutions Senior Vice President of Products, adding “In today’s highly challenging public safety environment, we know that first responders need their technology to deliver reliable communication at all times as well as allow them to work with their eyes up and hands free in any situation.” Purpose-built smart radios The purpose-built smart radio designed for emergency services recently won two Good Design Australia Awards, one for the radio’s design and features and another for the APX NEXT Ownership Experience, which provides seamless management and support for the entire fleet of radios deployed into the field. APX NEXT was also named in Fast Company’s Top 10 Product Innovations of 2019. APX NEXT Application Services The new smart radio uses LMR for mission-critical voice communications and LTE broadband to power new application services including: ViQi: With ViQi, first responders can control key features of the radio via voice command. ViQi Virtual Partner, available from 2021, will enable radio users to retrieve information from remote databases. For example, ViQi, run a number plate to retrieve information from back end systems using the smart device’s artificial intelligence capabilities. SmartConnect: APX NEXT detects when it is leaving P25 coverage and automatically switches to LTE broadband, ensuring continuity of PTT voice communications. It then switches back to LMR when the signal returns without the need for user intervention. SmartLocate: An officer’s location data is automatically sent over broadband to a dispatcher’s mapping console, providing dispatchers with up-to-date location information as fast as every 3 seconds. Leveraging broadband to send frequent location updates frees up valuable LMR system resources. SmartMapping: Built on the same platform as CommandCentral Aware, this application service provides precise location information in a map view on the radio’s display. For example, a police officer can see the location of other officers as icons on a map, quickly locate officers in distress and tap on the icons to send alerts or communicate with colleagues via the radio. SmartMessaging: A multimedia communication tool allows users to securely share videos, pictures, texts and voice notes across extended teams. A dispatcher, for example, can send pictures of a suspect to a group of officers in a specific location, or videos can be shared with a group of officers before they arrive at the scene of an incident. SmartProgramming: The radio’s software and configuration data can be rapidly updated over broadband, even when a police officer is using it. This means APX NEXT users spend less time at the station and more time in the field.
How can one effectively identify the hot spots that can be brought back to life by the winds and dropping humidity before they can flare up? Before they can grow into another rapid-moving fire that launches aerial assaults on new fronts? Thermal imaging technology in the form of the Scion PTM (Personal Thermal Monocular) from FLIR is the answer to those questions. Into The Fire Chad Costa, a battalion chief with the Petaluma (Calif.) Fire Department was deployed for 18 days on the Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County, California, and had the opportunity to put the Scion PTM-366 Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC) through its paces. TIC is helpful at night because you can scan a large area and pinpoint hot spots “I found that the Scion’s Hot Black color palette was most useful for checking the fire line for hot spots. When the fire is burning, you don’t need this tool. However, when the fire is out and you are searching the line for hot spots, it is extremely helpful,” said Costa. “This tool is also helpful at night because you can scan a large area and pinpoint hot spots.” According to Costa, he was able to drive around in his truck and scan large areas of the burned-out area once without having to walk around and grid the area using personnel on foot. “Plus, in the dark, you are able to make out personnel working on the fire line,” he said. “It may not seem like a big deal, but it is, and that’s another use for the tool.” The FLIR Scion Line of PTMs The Scion PTM-366 is one of four models in FLIR’s line of personal thermal monoculars, along with the PTM-166 and PTM466 (The PTM-366 comes in two models offering 320 × 240 or 640 × 480 detector resolution). Live Encrypted Video Streaming PTM from Scion line enables secure streaming of real-time thermal video to the command center With a PTM from the Scion line, one can have the capability to securely stream real-time thermal video to the command center via networked devices. The Scion line also has high-performance thermal lenses (ranging from 14-36 mm) that give the option of quick, close proximity detection, and the capability for more fine-tuned, long-range surveillance when needed. And one does not lose their real-time picture on the screen while recording a video. Versatile Lens Options Needing reliable vision from a distance? The premium Scion lenses can detect targets up to 854 yards (780 m) away for the PTM-366 with a 25 mm lens, and 1225 yards (1120 m) away for the PTM-366 equipped with a 36 mm lens. When combined with Scion’s manual focus ring, one can achieve a level of clarity not found in other PTMs. Superior Thermal Detection The PTMs in the Scion line also provide optimal performance at any time of day. Their thermal imaging can pierce complete darkness, glaring light, and lingering haze (e.g., smoke in a burned-out area of fire) to give superior awareness when operating in difficult visual conditions. FLIR’s Boson thermal core, paired with a 60 Hz image refresh rate, gives the Scion PTM advanced image processing that provides smooth, unwavering vision in the most challenging environments. With the Scion PTM-366, one gets all that capability, and more, in a PTM that weighs only 1 ½ pound and has an IP67-rating (for dust and water penetration). So, one knows it can stand up to the rigors of wildland firefighting. The PTM-366’s power supply can come from either six CR123A 3V Lithium Batteries providing up to 4 ½-hours of service 68° F (20°C) or a rechargeable battery pack that provides up to 10-hours of operation at 68° F (20°C).
In Sonoma County, California, Geyserville Fire Protection District (GFPD) strengthened its emergency response capabilities after receiving delivery of a customized pumper from Toyne, Inc., a fire apparatus manufacturer. The latest addition to their fleet comes at a time when the threat of wildfires is an ever-present concern for the district. Earlier this fall, members of the GFPD were among the countless number of first responders that worked tirelessly to contain the Kincade Fire – the largest wildfire to ever occur in Sonoma County. Bolted stainless steel GFPD’s new pumper is mounted on a Spartan Metro Star SMFD chassis and features a 10-inch raised roof cab. Fitted with a 380-horsepower Cummins ISL 9 engine and an Allison 3000 EVS transmission, the apparatus has the power to meet the demands of Sonoma County’s diverse terrain. This Toyne is built with bolted stainless steel, ensuring a long life of service. Water is dispersed by a 1,250-gallon-per-minute Hale Qflo pump, CBP PTO pump, Fire Research Total Control pressure governor, and also includes an Akron Hi Riser monitor. Geyserville’s new apparatus is equipped with a 600-gallon UPF tank and an ICI SL Plus tank gauge. Additional features include a Foam Pro 2001 Class A foam system and Fire Research SPA530-Q28 telescoping lights, allowing GFPD to be prepared for any call. Other unincorporated communities We are very proud to deliver this pumper to the Geyserville Fire Protection District" “We are very proud to deliver this pumper to the Geyserville Fire Protection District,” said Michael Schwabe, president and CEO of Toyne, Inc. “With their unwavering dedication in responding to emergencies on a moment’s notice, they deserve to have equipment and apparatus that are up to the task. And their Toyne Pumper is destined to serve and take the call without hesitation too.” Formed in 1996, Geyserville Fire Protection District serves over 5,000 residents in Geyserville, Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, and other unincorporated communities of northern Sonoma County, California. In total, the district covers more than 215 square miles of Wine Country. To protect the county’s largest fire district, GFPD utilizes three fire stations and a fleet of more than eight apparatus. The district is operated by two full-time and 31 volunteer firefighters. On average, crews respond to nearly 600 calls per year. High-Wind conditions On October 23, 2019, GFPD and other fire units responded to a call about a brush fire on John Kincade Road northeast of Geyserville. Due to high-wind conditions in the area, the fire grew rapidly over several days. Members of the fire district, along with hundreds of other responders, worked around the clock to battle the blaze and assist with evacuations in what is now called the Kincade Fire. After spreading through more than 77,000 acres, the wildfire was fully contained on the 6th of November. Driven to become better prepared for future wildfires, the delivery of their Toyne Pumper marks another step toward that goal. The pumper was sold to Geyserville by Hi-Tech Emergency Vehicle Service, Inc., a Toyne dealer based out of Oakdale, California.
The Rabun County Fire Services, located in the northeast corner of Georgia, has placed a Lake Assault Boats fireboat into service on Lake Rabun, an 835-acre reservoir with 25 miles of shoreline. The new craft provides fire suppression and emergency response services for homeowners, visitors, and Georgia Power facilities located on the lake. “The combination of hydroelectric plants and a growing number of high-end waterfront single family homes in a region susceptible to wildfires make our on-the-water emergency response capabilities a critical part of our department’s mission,” said Captain John Murray of the Rabun County Fire Services. “The new fireboat has greatly improved our emergency response performance and significantly reduced our ISO rating.” Lake Water For Firefighting Operations The 26-foot craft can quickly transport water into a network of standpipes located along the shoreline – that were furnished by neighborhood homeowners’ associations – to supply lake water for ground-based firefighting operations. Moreover, its deck-mounted monitor enables the craft to conduct direct fire attack. The fireboat is powered via twin 175 hp Mercury outboard engines and features a 1,250-gpm fire pump The fireboat is powered via twin 175 hp Mercury outboard engines and features a 1,250-gpm fire pump driven by a marinized V-6 engine. The TFT Hurricane monitor is rated at 1,250 gpm and there are four discharge ports including one that feeds a 5-inch large diameter hose (LDH). Other features include a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door capable of transporting ATVs, a swing-out side dive door, and a Davit crane with two access points. Easy To Operate Fireboat The T-top pilothouse is seven-feet long and has an interior clearance height of 76 inches. Its componentry includes a helm station with fire pump and monitor controls, and a 12-inch touchscreen commands a full suite of advanced electronics, including: forward looking infrared (FLIR), sonar with side structure scan, chartplotter, and GPS. “We’ve been blown away by our new fireboat’s performance – it is smooth, agile, quick to plane, and very easy to operate,” added Murray. “Plus, once on the scene, we can be flowing water in a matter of seconds.” Located in a mountainous region in the far northeast corner of Georgia, Rabun County Fire Services protects 361 square miles with a department that includes 200 volunteer firefighters, six paid personnel, 12 volunteer fire stations, 17 engines, 11 tankers, 11 mini pumpers and three fireboats. Each year the department responds to approximately 2,000 calls.
The Kirchdorf Volunteer Fire Brigade's scope of operations brings up many challenges: on the one hand, there are busy traffic routes including motorway tunnels, while on the other, there are many industrial and commercial enterprises, as well as a hospital. The EMEREC information management system is an important tool in keeping track of demanding operations. Wide Range Of Tasks Kirchdorf is equipped with special equipment, such as the ASF respiratory protection vehicle from Rosenbauer At first glance, with just 5,000 inhabitants, the district capital of Kirchdorf in southern Upper Austria exudes a sense of tranquillity. In many respects this may be true - but not for the local fire department and their wide range of tasks. This is because the favorable logistical position at the Pyhrn highway and the Pyhrn railway between the provincial capitals of Linz and Graz brings with it the fact that over 3000 businesses have established themselves along this corridor - including large industrial and commercial enterprises. In addition, the special topographic conditions in the limestone foothills of the Alps make them advantageous for the construction of road tunnels. ASF Respiratory Protection Vehicle The approximately 100 volunteer firefighters of the Kirchdorf brigade are deployed around 250 times each year. The majority of these are technical operations, mainly resulting from traffic accidents. As a hub fire brigade, Kirchdorf is also equipped with special equipment, such as the ASF respiratory protection vehicle from Rosenbauer and a forest fire trailer. If required, these devices can be called up for operations anywhere throughout the district. The EMEREC operations management system already plays an important role in the journey to operation sites and is used primarily as a navigation system. The tracking function also provides the operational leader with information about the current locations of vehicles. Emergency And Fire Protection Plans The Kirchdorf Voluntary Fire Brigade has a useful tool at its disposal with EMEREC Of particular importance is the information provided by EMEREC, even in operations in large commercial and industrial enterprises. The emergency and fire protection plans of the individual facilities can be called up in seconds, providing the fire brigade with all information, plans and pictures relevant to the operation. A special case in this context is the Kirchdorf state hospital, as platoon commander Harald Rachlinger says: "Without appropriate information and planning material, a target-oriented approach in such a large building complex would be very difficult. With EMEREC, all decision-relevant information is available on-site." Another significant advantage: thanks to the central system administration, this data is always current and up-to-date across the various mobile devices. Help For Personnel Involved Whether for traffic accidents in motorway tunnels or firefighting missions in large commercial buildings - the Kirchdorf Voluntary Fire Brigade has a useful tool at its disposal with EMEREC, which is a great help for the personnel involved in these challenging tasks.