“By looking at the cameras… we know immediately how many trucks to respond, whether to order an aircraft; a helicopter, airplanes...all that now is knowable within the first few minutes of a fire,” said Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory in the University of Nevada, Reno College of Science and chief architect of ALERTWildfire, in a recent video.
Kent was invited to be part of the “Cloud Talk” video series produced by Dell Technologies to highlight thought-leaders who are finding new ways to deploy cloud technologies. In the recent video interview, Wildfire Monitoring and Cloud-Powered 21st Century Lookout Towers, Kent and Jo Peterson, vice president of cloud and security at Clarify360, delve into the research technology that enables ALERTWildfire and the ways that it is supporting first responders and making a huge impact on safety and preparedness for citizens, agencies and industry.
“These capabilities and many more are enabled by a grassroots data network that the Nevada Seismological Lab and University researchers have built across the interior West, as part of scientific research and service,” said Scotty Strachan, director of Cyberinfrastructure at the University of Nevada, Reno. Strachan also emphasizes Nevada’s opportunity: “The logistics and expertise required to maintain modern networks in the wilderness, beyond cellular coverage, are significant, but also cutting edge. This is Nevada’s major opportunity for leadership in wide-area digital networking research, the ‘Internet of Wild Things.’”
ALERTWildfire now has about 750 cameras in the field that stream images to two data centers, one at the University of Nevada, Reno and one at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in partnership with the Nevada System of Higher Education’s NevadaNet. A subset of images are then pushed to the cloud where there is basically infinite scale to store and analyze data.
These data are changing the way in which first responders are able to strategically plan and respond to wildfires, as well as contributing to research in fire detection and modeling. The ALERTWildfire team knows that the cloud is essential to the success of this program and their plan in the next six months is to place the entire ALERTWildfire data and software system, that includes coverage in several Western states, into the cloud.
“It’s amazing to see how technology can make such a big impact on something as important as the environment and the health and safety of millions of people,” said Peterson.