National Interagency Fire Center
Fighting a wildfire is a multiagency affair, bringing together firefighters from local, state, federal and tribal agencies alongside cooperating organizations to protect people, property and the environment. This takes collaboration and cooperation across the agencies for real-time situational awareness and the sharing of accurate and timely information in the field. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) established an ArcGIS Online Organization to communicate updates, with more than 23,000 users making edits in the field to inform others of pertinent data so they can fight wildfires more effectively. NIFC is using GIS online and offline in the field to support firefighters and the communities it serves by collecting and sharing data on fire incidents during critical wildfire situations.
- With the scalability of ArcGIS Online and content from the Living Atlas, NIFC can better manage data and information for firefighting operations during periods of extreme wildfire activity. In the last few years, they’ve gone from making decisions on paper maps with day-old information to digital information delivered in near-real time.
- 92% of the 23,000 users in the NIFC ArcGIS Online organization only engage with the platform on mobile devices, entering critical wildfire information for situational and operational awareness.
- FireGuard is one of the web applications that NIFC uses to detect fires, incorporating remote sensing and distributed services to detect fires and weather conditions that can affect fire activity to mobilize and dispatch the appropriate resources. Requests for resources can be made by firefighters in the field or from dispatchers using a combination of a Hub site and ArcGIS Survey123 form.
- Firefighters access ArcGIS Field Maps when on the fire lines, so NIFC created a shareable solution for firefighters to indicate where there is good connectivity to collect data online or share data collected offline.
- Firefighters shift from suppression to repair efforts after the fire is extinguished. Collaborating with scientists within the ArcGIS Online organization, NIFC can prioritize where repair efforts are needed to stabilize soil, install water bars and prevent erosion.
- Data from firefighters in the field feed web applications and dashboards. The InFORM web application provides stakeholders with one authoritative source of data to report on the fire to the various agencies.
- The public is a large consumer of NIFC’s authoritative data, with more than one billion hits to their many hosted feature services in the summer of 2022. Current and historical data is shared on the NIFC Open Data ArcGIS Hub site.
- NIFC continues to grow its capabilities, supporting the deployment of new technologies to support the Dingle Resource Tracking Act (DART) for tracking resources. They are exploring several new ways to increase the interoperability of systems and extend internet connectivity to firefighters on the ground.