Northwest researchers are looking to the skies to help monitor wildfires as well as spot new ones with a new fire behavior forecasting system. The system uses satellites to help firefighters on the ground.
The views from space have helped map multiple wildfires this year. Satellites use infrared technology to peer through smoke. Data that satellites collect can supplement the often dangerous work traditionally mapped with special sensors on aircraft that fly at night above the flames.
Andre Coleman, a scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, created the system. He said the satellites can collect more data, tracking the fires multiple times throughout the day as they orbit over the Earth.
“This becomes really important as you have these big, big fires that are highly dynamic and fast moving,” Coleman said.