Futurecasting looks 10 to 15 years into the future. It synthesizes a vision of the future by analyzing:
  • social science
  • technical research
  • trends
  • historical perspectives
  • input from first responders and experts

Backcasting explores the steps we take today to help shape a future with less catastrophes.

HELP IMPLEMENT IDEAS TODAY TO PREPARE FOR TOMORROW - We want your comments and participation

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Section I

The Future of Wildfire

Change Public Discussion

  • A public discussion about fire needs to happen all year round, with an understanding of risks and realities of living in areas that have and will have wildfires.
  • We need to have a level-headed conversation about the fact that fire is inevitable for many parts of the continental United States.
  • We should try to dispel as much fear as possible replacing it with actionable steps that the public and home owners can take to prepare for the inevitability of fire.

Change Communities & Agencies Discussions

  • Communities and agencies can explore a new discussion about fire and its effect on planning and budgetary activities.
  • In areas where wildfires will happen, the issue of “recovery” from a wildfire could look quite different than simply rebuilding.
  • Communities should have broad fire education initiatives to inform the public not only about prevention but also evacuation information - When possible that information should be specific and task based.
  • Building off the public discussion, social awareness is powerful and effective. But this is not a one sided communication. When possible, agencies should integrate into the community, allowing neighbors to prepare with neighbors.
  • Social media and smart phone apps can help enable the average citizen and home owner to take action.

Change Industry Discussion
Industry can take a new look at public/private relationships for how to deal with fire and innovate with new solutions.

  • What incentives could be put in place that would encourage preparedness?
  • How can technology and communications networks be extended to rural areas that will be affected by fire?
  • Are there new ways to finance the technology and infrastructure changes needed to prepare for fire?

2. Prepare homes and communities for Fire

  • Advances in technology can provide home owners in wildfire regions with new ways to monitor and protect their homes.
  • Mobile communications technology and sensors can monitor the state of the home (ground, air, space-based sensors), reporting conditions to the owners as well as the local fire community.
  • Remotely activated fire suppression systems could protect property and prevent injury to first responders.
  • Real time data can be modeled into information for home owners to make key decisions.
  • When possible we should develop new systems to utilize existing hardware.

All fire is an urban fire problem.

  • Every participant at the futurecasting exercise reported that for them fire was only a problem when it threatened people’s lives or property.
  • We can think of fire as a problem only when it intersects with people.
  • With fire as a constant, then how people choose to interact with it matters. Where we meet fire matters and has major consequences.

Individuals have responsibilities too.

  • Although so much more can be done by the decisions of where to build, 'hardening of the home' accomplishes multiple benefits.
  • Hardening helps protect homes and relieves the complete burden of protection from the fire community.
  • Individual responsibility on the part of the home owners and the broader community also surfaces a much more needed conversation about what it will actually take to live in wildfire country.

3. Turn data into Information

  • The single most evident cluster of possible solutions to the future of wildfire was the use and integration of technology.
  • Each group envisioned a future where technology was used to gather data pre, post and during wildfires then turn that data into actionable information for multiple audiences (firefighters, public officials and home owners).
  • As we look 10 years out, the size and expense of technology will continue to drop while the capabilities of this technology and its use with wildfire will increase.
  • Situation awareness was key to understanding fire before, during and after the event. Real time collection of data could come from satellite imaging, UAS’s (unmanned aerial systems), or large sensor networks.
  • Once this situational awareness data is gathered it needs to be processed and turned into actionable information. For example, technological advances in AI (artificial intelligence), 3D mapping and predictive models can present the current situation and multiple possible futures.
  • Multiple audiences require this information, but each audience is very different. They will need different information at different times and it will need to be presented to them in different ways.

    Some of the audiences identified:

  • Public
  • Home owner
  • Firefighters (multiple sub audiences from the local fire chief, to the field commander to the first responder)
  • Public officials

Section II

Next Steps

Follow the clear actionable next steps to bring about a far more positive future for wildfires and our world. Each step can be turned into a specific project. Are we missing anyone or anything? Add your comments below.

Step 1. Changing how we have conversations about Fire, means having multiple conversations:

  • a. Media
  • b. Local
  • i. Become defensive
  • ii. Remain sustainable
  • c. Agencies
  • d.  Self-Organized groups such as FIT
  • e. Talk to the public

Step 2. Prepare homes and communities for Fire

  • a. Harden the Home
  • i. Talk to the public about home defense/suppression/mitigation
  • b. Broader Global Risks
  • c. Risk calculation of “cost” of fire
  • i. Tax incentives to improve home risk value
  • ii. Insurance company incentives to improve home risk value
  • iii. Improved building codes to make home safer
  • iv. Change policy to make homes safer
  • v. New homes that are being built in “Red” zone needs to be equipped with new technology and materials to make them safer

Step 3. Turn data into information

  • a. Develop modeling of Fires
  • i. Test the model with controlled burns
  • ii. Ensure local opinion is incorporated in the data that the model uses
  • iii. Communicate with existing organization and models to see how they compare and contrast
  • b. The data and modeling will lead to better resource management

If you are interested in getting involved with one of these three areas please contact brian.david.johnson@intel.com

Section III

The Meaning of Wildfires

Section III The Meaning of Wildfires

There will always be wildfires, but if we change the conversation and how we imagine our future with fire we can have a dramatic effect. Wildfires, like most disasters, change the state of our communities and homes.

Fire is not destabilizing but the disruption comes from the fires’ effect on the workings of lives. We must therefore not only reimagine our relationship to fire but we must also reimagine how we envision our current state.

How can we change our thinking about wildfires to best promote new ideas?  Add your thoughts below.