A new wildfire notification system is almost ready for public launch, and its creators are hoping it will save lives as fires become more common in California.
IRWIN is the new detection and notification system designed to help people learn about wildfires right when they start. It stands for Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information, and it uses mountain top cameras and satellite heat maps to detect fires. Locals will then be notified through an alert on their phone, which will lead them to more information about the fire.
Dawn Hutchinson, who works with Big Bear Fire Authority and FEMA, is helping create IRWIN. She said there’s a big need for better notifications for wildfires.
“So people aren’t surprised and don’t have enough time to get out, like what’s been happening the last couple years in California,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson said as the effects of global warming become more pronounced, wildfires will become more common and notifying citizens of fires will become even more important.
“The technology was here and it needed to be done,” said Hutchinson.
In the future, Hutchinson wants to expand the system to help fire agencies fight the fires as well by giving them real time data and predictive modeling.
IRWIN is a project of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
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