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Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

 Федеральный исследовательский центр «Красноярский научный центр Сибирского отделения Российской академии наук»

Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

Fire prediction system and its functioning

15 August 2019 г.

Как работает система прогнозирования пожаров
The scientists of the Sukachev Institute of Forest KSC SB RAS have developed a system for predicting fires. In an interview to the «Rossiyskaya Gazeta», the director of the Institute Alexander Onuchin speaks about its main principles.

- You claim that your system can predict such an accidental process as fire. It seems too ambitious. Fire does depend on many factors – a match, strike of lightning, even on a piece of bottle glass which can act as a magnifying glass in hot weather.

- Specialists have such an expression: a fire must be ready to develop. So, a computer follows this development. How does it happen? The whole area of the given region is divided into zones where fire can, most likely, occur, for example, where there is a great amount of inflammable material.
This is the basis for the prediction. We constantly follow the changes in temperature, humidity, wind direction and other meteorological data. The data are analyzed by the computer and we obtain information what areas are “ready”, and, thus, the probability of fire outbreak is high. They are assigned the yellow color of danger. Other areas, where there are swamps and the type of vegetation is not so dangerous get the blue color.
According to this map a forestry manager can make decisions how to use the available potential more effectively, where it is necessary to increase patrolling, concentrating on most dangerous spots.

- And if a fire has started? Siberia has vast areas and it is impossible to control everything.

- If fire has appeared, a prediction about the development of a fire with time can be made on the basis of the wind speed, temperatures, and available inflammable materials. Measures for firefighting can be recommended. Of course, everything depends on the particular area where a fire has started whether it is fire-hazardous.
If fire fighting started after two hours, the system can give recommendations concerning the number of people necessary to effectively fight fire (e.g.20 people). If fire fighting started after 20 hours, hundreds of people must be involved, if measures are taken after 2 days, fire cannot be stopped. It is only necessary to protect settlements, important units of infrastructure and timber supply areas.

- Are there many enthusiasts who wish to put your system to practice?

- You are too optimistic. The system has successfully been tested in two forestries; however, the interest to this system has decreased. The matter is that fires of this year are not a unique phenomenon; approximately, the same situation has been observed for eight years. Forests burn on vast areas but western winds carry the smoke to the areas where there is no population, everybody got used to it, nobody has ever needed any predictions. But this year, the wind has changed and the smoke has moved to cities, so interest to our development has appeared again.

- Everything depends on the wind, this is clear.

- Now, we are using planes, and pour tons of water. Naturally, there is some effect, but the cost is too high. If to take measures in advance the damage will be many times lower.

Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta