Learning by fire at Camp Swift

A National Institute of Standards and Technology worker prepares an unmanned aerial vehicle to be launched at the prescribed burn research project at Camp Swift Wednesday. The unmanned vehicle collects data on how fast and how intense the fire grows.Once a wildfire starts, it’s important to halt it in its tracks quickly.

Few communities know the importance of this better than Bastrop, where the 2011 Labor Day weekend Bastrop County Complex Fire burned some 34,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,700 homes.

The area has learned a great deal about the behavior of fires, but there’s still more to learn.

And that’s why on Wednesday, firefighters and researchers from some 14 organizations and universities — some from as far away as Australia — converged on Camp Swift for a prescribed burn.

The burn itself was quite important for several reasons, according to Texas A&M Forest Service Program Specialist Mary Leathers.

Pointing out the numerous gauges and measuring devices used to collect data — including sonic- and light-detection devices and unmanned aerial vehicles, among other advanced technologies — on how fires burn and how they grow under differing weather and topographical conditions, Leathers said the researchers hope to gain much deeper knowledge of how fires behave and can use the data to create newer and better plans for dealing with fires.

Read the full article…

Leave a Reply