New tech to help AFD prepare for future wildfires

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Despite the recent rain, most of west Austin is just a notch below being listed as a very high risk of wildfires.

“In a summer like this summer, the wildfire risk is still high,” said Keri Hines of Texas A&M Forest Service.

Hines’ agency has several Simtables, a high tech tool that allows them to map out wildfire simulations and develop strategies to fight them. With a large sand box and interactive projector overhead, the table simulates the area’s landscape using real-world data.

“The Simtable has really changed the game for training and for mitigation,” she said.

You can adjust wind direction and speed, then ignite a simulated fire. Simtable then projects an image of the fire spreading. Fire agencies use that simulation to create strategies for battling wildfires or look at previous wildfires to review how departments attacked the flames.

“The way that it can project wildfires and their progression just really drives home why we should be prepared,” said Hines.

The Austin City Council recently approved using grant money to purchase Simtable for the Austin Fire Department, but there is no clear timeline for exactly when the department will get it.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s