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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fire Behavior Webinar/Workshop coming soon

Please register for Sharing Fire Behavior Practices & Lessons Learned Webinar on Nov 16, 2015 2:00 PM EST1:00 PM CST12:00 PM MST11:00 AM PST10:00 AM AKST at:

Target Audience: Fire Behavior Specialists including Fire Behavior Analysts, Long-term Analysts, Geo-spatial Analysts and fire behavior Technical Specialists

As the fire behavior community aspires to promote best practices among a range of fire behavior experience, this webinar strives to share and record dialogue regarding lessons learned from fire behavior prediction on 2015 wildfire incidents. Every fire season there are parts of the country that receive a lot of fire activity. Fire-fighting resources are assigned and consequently numerous fire behavior specialists begin focusing on these areas to ensure fire-fighter safety and to develop short-, mid-, and long- term fire behavior simulations to support these efforts and management decisions. An incredible amount of knowledge is gained and shared during these short periods of intense focus; yet often these fire behavior practices and lessons learned are recorded, stored, and not shared beyond the incident.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Those of you attending the AFE conference in San Antonio TX, room location will be forthcoming.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WFM RD&A Work Highlighted in The Green Line

The Washington Office of Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management recently published a Special Edition of their Green Line newsletter and it highlighted some of the work we are doing here in the WFM RD&A. We would like to share these stories with you along with a copy of the Newsletter itself. Hats off to Tim, Andrew, and Ben for the great work on these projects!

You can view a copy of the full newsletter here

For the past two fire seasons Wildland Fire Management RD&A (WFM RD&A) staff have been mining tweets about wildfires from Twitter's enormous pool of data with the goal of developing an early warning system for new and emerging wildfires. Utilizing the existing structure and concept of the Threat News Explorer, Ben Butler has been working with Kingbird Software to build a web app called TwitterFire to support this concept. Every 15 minutes TwitterFire relies on a custom built search algorithm to examine an average of 5,250,00 tweets and narrow the data set down to only those likely to be talking about a wildfire in the United States. The tweets are then mapped using Yahoo's Placemaker API and used to drive a notification system which sends emails and/or text messages to registered users when a threshold is met for a specific geographic location. The concept relies on the millions of Twitter users to spot wildfires and tweet about them- and so far it is working. The science of Social Media Data Mining is growing rapidly, and our ability to extract meaningful value from Social Media posts has improved greatly over the course of this project. The TwitterFire Web App from within the Threat News Explorer at - .

Structure Protection Assessment

WFM RD&A staff members Andrew Bailey, Ben Butler and Tim Sexton are utilizing data from R6 to assess effectiveness of fire suppression in preventing structure loss. Post-fire reviews were conducted by using Cadastral and Structure Address data entered in to the WFDSS values- at-risk component to compare number of structures threatened to known losses. Inter-governmental partnerships are yielding improvements jn data quality, which may assist managers in the future for ICS209 reporting, developing success stories for incidents, and evaluating decisions.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Distributing Information

Talk is cheap - or so they say!

Often we are overwhelmed with information and unsure about what to do. Other times we wish we had more information and then when we dive in and try to find it we struggle with it's accuracy and authority. Here at the WFM RD&A we spend a large amount of time trying to determine the best way to get timely, accurate, and helpful information our to our users and constituent groups. When we first started this blog the idea was that we would use it [heavily] to dynamically update our website with stories, project highlights, training notices and other helpful things. After taking a close look at our analytics (more on that in a future post and in our annual report) we realized that perhaps not as many people as we'd hoped were following our blog. Due to this fact we moved away from posting to the blog and tried other methods to reach out. 

What I would like to do with this post is try to determine a.) our current blog audience and b.) figure out if there are better ways we can get information out.

The Wildland Fire Management RD&A actually has a number of information outlets and I'd like to spend a few minutes outlining some of those before asking a favor of you...

Most of you are likely familiar with our website. In fact you may have jumped into this blog from our website. This is currently our primary information outlet.

Application Websites and
These websites are very specific and generally only contain information related to the applications they represent. You will likely notice that we sometimes host information on our website about these applications. We tend to post more philosophical content about these specific applications on the WFM RD&A website.

Social Media
You may not realize it but the WFM RD&A Program has several social media accounts. If you haven't seen them you might want to check out:
YouTube Channels
WFDSS Support Videos (YouTube Channel)
IFTDSS Support Videos (YouTube Channel)
WFM RD&A YouTube Channel

- WFDSS Twitter Account

As you can see we put a fairly large amount of content out there. Especially when you consider the depth of some of these resources. Some are just getting started while others are very mature and include a number of links to additional resources and tools.

Is it enough?
Think Bigger

What I am ultimately interested in knowing is how we can best get information out to you, our customers.

Please take a few minutes to jot down an idea (or two) using the comments feature below. Anything goes! If you'd like to see a newsletter; read more regular posts on this blog; perhaps you'd like to see us on Facebook or to use Twitter to it's full potential; maybe you prefer to get information via email and a Listserv would be best, whatever you have we're interested.

Friday, October 2, 2015

"Moving" to Blogger

We have been using Blogger to host our updates section of our website since 2013. Blogger makes a great platform for allowing multiple individuals to submit content and gives us the ability to post relevant news and notes without writing code. In short, it's a pretty slick way to manage a section of your website. Until now we have not leveraged the true power of Blogger and that is set to change.

Starting today when you clicked on this post you are taken to our blog's homepage on The first thing you likely noticed is that the page looks much different from the WFM RD&A homepage. This is a small tradeoff and we hope you enjoy the layout of the blog. The advantage of using the Blogger homepage are many and I want to take some time and outline some of the key features...

"New" Functionality included with the move to Blogger:

  • Comments - We see this as one of the main advantages to using the blogger homepage. We want to hear from you and hope that our subscribers will take the time to share their thoughts by submitting comments to our posts. By default the comment section is somewhat hidden but if you click on the "No comments" link at the bottom of each post you will jump into the actual post where you can leave a comment.
  • Sharing - At the bottom of each post you will see icons (see image below) that allow you to share the post via social media and email. Please feel free to share!
  • Subscribe via email - Using the "Follow by email" box in the left menu allows you to sign up for email notifications whenever a new blog post is ready to read
  • Subscribe via RSS - If you use an RSS reader you can also subscribe and be notified of new posts. You'll find this option in the left menu also.
  • Mobile friendly - Blogger automatically detects your device type and will display the best version of the site for your device. 
  • Link back to WFM RD&A Homepage - We placed a permanent link in the left menu (Just click on our logo) to bring you back to the Wildland Fire Management RD&A homepage. If you find yourself wanting to be back on our website, it's just a click away!
We think this "move" to Blogger gives us greater flexibility and increases the functionality and accessibility and hope you feel the same. We plan on using the blog more and are working on new, exciting stories to post there. Thank you for taking the time to read through the changes we are making and for your interest in the work that we do. As with everything we do, our goal is to find the best way to help and we hope this is a step in the right direction.