In September 2013, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) in collaboration with the University of Maryland (UMD) was awarded a grant to build an end-to-end cyberinfrastructure (CI), called WIFIRE, for real-time and data-driven simulation, prediction and visualization of wildfire behavior. The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute will build this integrated CI system for supporting social-ecological resilience to the changing fire ecology regime in the face of urban dynamics and climate change, together with collaborators Michael Gollner and Arnaud Trouve from UMD’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering.
San Diego Fires

A wildfire is seen in the background of Downtown San Diego.

The WIFIRE CI integrates networked observations, e.g., heterogeneous satellite data and real-time remote sensor data, with computational techniques in signal processing, visualization, modeling and data assimilation to provide a scalable, technological, and educational solution to monitor weather patterns to predict a wildfire’s Rate of Spread. Our collaborative WIFIRE team of scientists, engineers, technologists, government policy managers, private industry, and firefighters will architect and implement CI pathways that enable joint innovation for wildfire management. Scientific workflows will be used as an integrative distributed programming model and will simplify the implementation of engineering modules for data-driven simulation, prediction and visualization while allowing integration with large-scale computing facilities.

WIFIRE will be scalable to users with different skill-levels via specialized web interfaces and user-specified alerts for environmental events broadcasted to receivers before, during and after a wildfire. The approach is scalable which allows many sensors to be subjected to user-specified data processing algorithms to generate threshold alerts within seconds. Integration of this sensor data into both rapidly available fire image data and models will better enable situational awareness, responses and decision support at local, state, national, and international levels.

WIFIRE is funded by NSF 1331615 under CI, Information Technology Research and SEES Hazards programs. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).