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Phone app can measure wildfire danger
A smartphone app intended to prevent forest fires by identifying hazardous areas is being tested in British Columbia forests, researchers say.
Designed by University of British Columbia forestry scientists, the app is designed for both professionals and members of the public such as homeowners, a university release reported Tuesday.
The app contains images of potential fire hazards such as fallen wood, brush, or a thick carpet of needles on the forest floor, and once similar conditions are identified users can take pictures and upload them with additional information and global positioning system coordinates to a database, the researchers said.
“One of the most effective ways to reduce wildfire hazard is to reduce the amount of fuel that is available to burn,” forestry doctoral student Colin Ferster said.
“By putting this tool in hands of many people, we can collect more information about the current status of the forest, and at the same time increase awareness and cooperation, which will help reduce the threat of wildfire in the community.”
A field trial of the app is currently under way in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, the researchers said.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International