The Water Fall fire in Carson City proved devastating to home and land owners. At a cost of more than eight million to fight, It lasted for several days and firefighters were very concerned the fire would crest over the mountains...and head toward the Tahoe Basin.
wHAT led them to such dire predictions? They were based on expert analysis of weather trends, winds, temperatures, and terrain....something that would look like this if you could put it in a visual context...
And that's exactly what's happening here at the Desert Research Institute and the 'CAVE"
Crystal Kolden a DRI Assistant Reserach Scientist says: " If another Waterfall fire broke out, what we would be able to do is, utilize information from the first day of the waterfall fire run it through a fire modeling program that will predict where that fire is going to go for the next couple of days, and then we can visualize that information and data within this CAVE environment."
Kolden says DRI already supplies authorities with information they need to help battle the blaze..but soon it will be put in this form so that fire experts will be able to pinpoint hot spots, housing, terrain..." They would be able to tell what areas are in danger, what resources are at risk including housing, streams and other types of ecological resources. And they would also be able to tell where they need to be careful in putting surpression resources, where they might be in danger, fire engines or hot shot crews, things like that."
The system is one of about three hundred worldwide and costs more than one million dollars.
The technology will go beyond pinpoint information...after special speakers are installed, this format will be used to train actual firefighters to get a feel for the real deal--what its like to work at ground level putting out fires.