Using GIS to Teach Wildfire Safety


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Homes are designed, built, and
maintained to withstand a wildfire
the intervention of the fire department.

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Using GIS to Teach Wildfire Safety

  1. 1. Using GIS to Teach Wildfire Safety Denise Laitinen Firewise Communities Hawaii Coordinator Hawaii Island HIGICC Geospatial Expo May 20, 2014
  2. 2. What/who is Firewise?  Created in 1985 by NFPA & USDA after a horrific fire season  Part of the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Program  Overseen by the WUI Working Team of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group  Sponsored by:  USDA Forest Service  Department of the Interior, National Park Service  National Fire Protection Association  US Fire Administration/FEMA  National Association of State Foresters
  3. 3. National: (too many to list)  American Planning Association  American Red Cross  American Society of Landscape Architects  Community Associations Institute  Congressional Fire Services Institute  Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)  Institute for Business & Home Safety  Insurance Services Office  International Association of Fire Chiefs  International Association of Wildland Fire Local: 80+ groups including:  Hawaii Fire Dept.  Maui County Fire Dept.  Kauai Fire Dept.  City & County of Honolulu Fire Dept.  DOFAW  Maui Association of Landscape Professionals  U.S. Fish & Wildfire Service  Hui O Laka, Kokee Museum  Pohakuloa Training Area, U.S. Army  Grove Farm  Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park  Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Cooperators and Allies
  4. 4. Ocean View The Firewise Goal Homes are designed, built, and maintained to withstand a wildfire WITHOUT the intervention of the fire department.
  5. 5. A Vision for the Future A Vision for the Future: Wildland fires occur in the future without the loss of homes and structures.
  6. 6. For homeowners being Firewise means: 1. Having defensible space and 2. Using fire-resistant building materials. This house has a triple fuel break (gravel, grass, rocks). 3,000-acre fire in Launiupoko, Maui
  7. 7. Firewise Activities 2002-Present ‘What does Firewise do in Hawaii?”  Community Outreach/Presentations  Media Relations  Meetings  Trainings/Workshops  Community Work Days  Alert Communities to Grant Opportunities
  8. 8. Create educational tools Examine wildfire behavior What burns? What doesn’t? Why?
  9. 9. Community Outreach
  10. 10. Firewise hazard assessments of West Hawaii subdivisions with Hawaii Fire Dept. Field work:
  11. 11. Wildfire Hazard Assessment  Standardized method to determine a community’s risk  Part of NFPA 1144 (Appendix A)  Gives you a look at the good, the bad, and the really scary. Why is road width important? Why is vertical clearance important?
  12. 12. Gasoline Charcoal Hazard assessments are important because they discover issues that can be rectified BEFORE a fire strikes.
  13. 13. How do you teach wildfire safety using GIS?
  14. 14. Firewise Communities and ESRI  Education has always been a key element of spreading the Firewise message about wildfire behavior and prevention.  Early on Firewise partnered with ESRI on a national level to create standard training model that could be used nationwide.  The result was the creation of a GIS- based model that reflects many of the situations faced by communities across the country.  Using a standardized model for full-day workshops ensures consistency in training nationwide whether training firefighters, planners, or civilians.
  15. 15. Firewise Workshops  Firewise workshops educate folks about wildfire, its behavior, and how to reduce the risk of wildfire to their home and community.  A key part of this training is learning how to conduct a wildfire hazard assessment (part of NFPA 1142, a national standard.)  By using the GIS-based maps and tools, participants learn about wildfire mitigation.  These workshops are usually the first time participants have ever heard of GIS, never mind using it.
  16. 16. Using GIS to teach fire safety & community planning  GIS as a learning tool: multiple data layers enable non- technical people to easily grasp the importance of wildfire safety on an individual and community level. * Learn how to reduce wildfire risks as well as identify them. The importance of community planning: People understand the importance of planning with fire safety in mind and learn strategies to reduce their risk.
  17. 17. Ocean View Why is Firewise important? Being Firewise saves lives and homes. The Waikoloa Firewise committee held a regularly scheduled community work day and cleared the fuel break just 3 WEEKS before this 2005 fire. The cleared fuel break is credited with preventing the 25,000 acre wildfire from spreading into the community. (Extra credit: Any idea why this picture represents completely backward planning?)
  18. 18. Mahalo! For more info: Denise Laitinen (808) 281-3497 Facebook: Firewise Communities Hawaii Twitter: @FirewiseHawaii Google+: Firewise Communities Hawaii
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