Rifle, CO, October 6, 2022-The Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting (CoE), the research and development organization within the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, has entered into a 5-year, $1.6 million agreement with the USDA Forest Service to develop innovative technologies for wildland fire management.
“Wildland fire management is increasingly relying upon technology to support decisions and increase situational awareness,” said CoE Director Ben Miller. “Technology along with the fire environment is rapidly changing and we are excited to partner with the USDA Forest Service to allow for more efficient investment in wildland fire technology both in Colorado and nationwide.”
The CoE will assist the Forest Service’s Fire and Aviation Management Tools and Technology Team with projects including broadening adoption of the Wildland Fire Team Awareness Kit (WFTAK) smartphone apps as well as building out capabilities to support public safety responders and wildland fire fighters.
WFTAK provides up-to-the-second location tracking and mapping capabilities to firefighters, as well as cutting edge connectivity solutions and integrations of sensors and cameras for use by firefighters. These and related projects focus on addressing provisions in the 2019 John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, Sec. 1114 Wildfire Technology Modernization.
According to Sean Triplett, Forest Service Tools & Technology Team Lead, “this collaboration will allow the US Forest Service to operationalize technology quickly to get it into the hands of firefighters. We look forward to this opportunity with CoE and are excited to kick off our agreement.”
The CoE has formally collaborated with the Forest Service since 2020 and has demonstrated technologies at pilot project scale on wildfires in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada.