Israeli "Matash" fire-prediction system

Blog Post created by hyltonhaynes Employee on Feb 6, 2014

When one thinks of Israel, one typically thinks of a small country with desert landscapes, however each year, an average of 1,000 fires occur in Jewish National Fund forests throughout Israel, affecting about 9,000 acres of land.  In Israel, there are 400,560 acres of forestland, making up just over 7% of Israel’s total area.  According to one of my former colleagues Faith Berry [independent fire assessment consultant] who is now working with amongst others some Israeli officials, indicated that they too have a significant wildfire risk problem that impacts rural communities in the same way it impacts us here in the United States.

According to the Ministry of Public Security website developers from the field of meteorology and forest fire behavior have developed an operational technology for predicting the spread of fires called "Matash".

The "Matash" system has two main components: The first is a data component consisting of collected meteorological data, such as temperature, relative humidity, precipitation and wind direction and speed.  It also collects infrastructure data such as topographical conditions, a map of flammable materials, and vegetation moisture content.

The second component of the system is the model of the fire's spreading.  The "Matash" model is a function of the combined data of flammable materials, topography, and wind direction.  The interesting thing about this forecasting system is that it provides the incident commander a real-time and 6 hour predication of future fire spread.  Making technology like this mobile and available to the wildland firefighters may help limit firefighter exposure and result in different outcomes than the one experienced at the Yarnell Hill fire.

The National Fire Protection Association [NFPA] in collaboration with National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] is working on a Smart Fire Fighting Workshop where select cyber-physical system [CPS] and firefighting experts are meeting to develop a research roadmap that identifies key opportunities for future research and development in the realm of firefighter safety and situational awareness.