1005 Fall 2019 Saving Lives in Large Wildfires: Case Studies and Analysis
Monday, 11:50–1:15, November 18
Instructor: Dr. Michael Hieb
In the past three years, fires in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) have increased in frequency and severity. The WUI is defined as the area where houses and wildland vegetation meet or overlap, posing an increased risk for wildfires due to human ignitions and a greater risk posed to lives and homes. Over 46 million homes in 70,000 communities are at risk for WUI fires, and the WUI area continues to grow by approximately 2 million acres per year across the United States. Over this same three-year period, some of the deadliest fires have occurred in WUI in California and Tennessee. WUI fires are characterized by a fire in a remote forested area that rapidly spreads into urban communities, has high winds, heavy smoke, and threatens property and lives. The speed with which these fires grow and threaten large populations strains resources and operational coordination and requires critical decisions at the earliest stages of response. This course will present case studies of several recent WUI fires, and look at new ways to respond to these catastrophic events in the following areas: 1) detecting and tracking the fire; 2) modeling the fire; and 3) warning and evacuation.
Michael Hieb is a research professor in the C4I and Cyber Center, in the Volgenau Engineering School at Mason, and he currently supports Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Administration. He has a PhD in information technology from Mason and his work specializes in applications of command and control and simulation technologies.