A robust, new geographic information systems (GIS) software tool developed by a University at Buffalo geographer is helping the U.S. Forest Service to more quickly and accurately assess and contain the devastation wrought by forest fires, such as last summers Hayman Fire, Colorados worst wildfire ever. That fire, which covered more than 137,000 acres and blazed for more than two weeks, destroyed 133 homes and caused damage of approximately $39 million.
The new tool, to be presented in New Orleans on Thursday (March 6, 2003) at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, modifies a computer model developed originally by the U.S. Agricultural Research Service that is used to assess soil erosion in agricultural areas.
"Last years devastating forest-fire season has prompted forest, wildlife and watershed managers to call for better ways of rapidly assessing how fires have impacted soil erosion and sediment delivery in streams," said Chris Renschler, Ph.D., assistant professor of geography in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.
Ellen Goldbaum | University at Buffalo
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