LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) - UC San Diego scientists are helping fight wildfires up north from behind their computers.
Their online tool, WIFIRE, provides valuable information for both the public and first responders.
With WIFIRE, the public can monitor fire maps created with real-time data from different sources. The public can see the fire perimeter, wind speeds, temperatures, humidity and even fuel growth.
The team also created a tool that predicts fire behavior six hours out.
"When you know where the fire is going you can plan evacuations, can inform the public of what's going on, and more importantly make data-driven decisions," said Ilkay Altintas, the Chief Data Science Officer for the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
The prediction tool is only available to firefighters. Altintas says to an untrained eye, the prediction models could be more harmful than helpful. In a dynamic fire environment, models can turn out to be inaccurate. Altintas relies on fire authorities to analyze the data and then decide what information the public needs to know.