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Background

The Wildfire Research and Applications Partnership (WRAP) project was successfully competed and funded in 2003 under the NASA Office of Earth Science (OES) Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) CAN-02-OES-01, entitled "Earth Science REASoN – Research, Education, and Applications Solutions Network, A Distributed Network of Data and Information Providers For Earth Science Enterprise Science, Applications and Education. The project proposal, originally entitled "NASA Wildfire Response R&D, Applications and Technology Implementation" (REASoN-0109-0172), was shortened to WRAP to highlight the collaborative partnership of the US Forest Service and NASA in wildfire science and applications. The project was originally a 5-year funded effort, initiated in July 2003. Mission support efforts to the fire and disaster community have been extended through 2010.

The objectives of the project are to foster collaborative partnerships between NASA and the US Forest Service to facilitate and demonstrate evolved and evolving technologies for increasing the information content and timeliness of earth resource data collected for wildfires. Both agencies have worked collaboratively on parallel-track developments in fire imaging, but this initiative is the first major effort at formalizing and focusing wildfire science and applications between the agencies. The outcomes of this collaborative effort are creation of improved tools for Wildfire Decision Support Systems within the US Forest Service and the other fire mitigation and management agencies.

2010 Western States UAS Fire Imaging Mission Status

The 2010 Western States Fire Mission this year are focused on transitioning the AMS sensor capabilities to other platforms for ease of operations. Three platforms are planned for integration and mission flights this year: the NASA Ikhana UAS, the newly-modified NASA DFRC B200 manned aircraft and the newly-modified USFS B200. The two B200 aircraft are anticipated to be ready to support initial test missions and sensor check-out flights in the August / September timeframe. During the interim, the NASA Ikhana UAS will be utilized to support emergency data collection requests. The AMS will be integrated on the Ikhana and readied for missions by August. As the NASA DFRC B200 becomes available for sensor test flights and integration, the missions will transfer to that platform. The NASA B200 is will be able to respond to wildfire emergencies quicker, due to less airspace restrictions on that platform and other considerations. The USFS B200 is anticipated to be available for sensor fit-checks and initial flight operations in the September / October 2010. This will enable a brief 2010 fire season support role, primarily in southern California, which is predicted to have an increased threat of fires (above normal) this fall.

The 2010 mission support efforts are funded under an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant to CSUMB and supporting entities. The ARRA grant extends for two years, culminating in September 2011. The objectives of the ARRA WRAP project are to engage a new partner, CalFire and to further develop their wildfire observation capabilities, as well as to continue partnership with the USFS for such. Additionally, the ARRA WRAP project is funded to support emergency requests for data over wildfires in 2010 and 2011, while the wildfire management agencies work towards procurement / development of new sensor capabilities to supplant those provided by NASA.

Additionally, the partnership is working on furthering flight capabilities and integration of small UAS systems into tactical wildfire observation support strategies. This is being accomplished with a series of demonstration missions by UAS providers on prescribed fire. The small UAS will also be integrated into operations on at least one active wildfire during FY2010, showcasing the ability to support infrared observations during periods when manned aircraft are unavailable (nighttime operations). The USFS and other wildfire agencies are looking to the cost-effective use of small UAS systems for low-altitude hot spot detection and small area wildfire observations.

As has been common in past mission years, real-time fire imagery, collected from the AMS-Wildfire sensor on the UAS and the manned aircraft will be terrain- and geo-rectified automatically (on-board) and transmitted to the web for use in various visualization tools, including GoogleEarth. Additional information of importance on wildfire imaging will also be ported through the same servers and viewable as GoogleEarth files simultaneously. This additional information includes RAWS weather station data, GOESS weather data, satellite coverage maps for MODIS, lightning detection data and aircraft state data. The real-time aircraft state data can be used to reference the location of the aircraft during the missions. Further, real-time small-format video data, collected from a camera on the Ikhana UAS is available as well. All imagery, both archived and current, is readily viewable in our Collaborative Decision Environment (CDE) utilizing GoogleEarth. The CDE can be accessed at this website.

Further information and the link to the Collaborative Decision Environment can be found at the "Current Activities and Demonstrations / Current Missions" (seen on the left bar).

 
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Last updated: August 10, 2009
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