Scientist, Australian Center for Remote Sensing, Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia
Lecturing/Research: Building the Capability to Develop a Land Cover Classification Framework for Risk Assessment Modeling From Multi-Sensor Satellite Imagery
Host: University of California—Berkeley, Berkeley, California
October – November 2006
The Fire Sciences Laboratory (FireLab) of the U.S. Department of Forests and Fire Center of University of Montana invited Alan Forghani, a Fulbright Visiting Scholar hosted at Geographic Information Science Center of the University of California Berkeley (www.gisc.berkeley.edu/people/
visitors.html) to deliver guest lectures as a Fulbright Occasional Lecturer Occasional Lecturer Fund and meet with spatial fire scientists from October 31 – November 10, 2006.
Forghani presented his seminar titled, “Remote Sensing Capabilities— A Special Focus to Bushfire Mapping and Modeling,”at the Fire Sciences Laboratory. In his seminar, Forghani introduced some examples of remote sensing and spatial capabilities of his home institution, Geoscience Australia, and focused on his project on exploiting remote sensing technology for bushfire simulation with FARSITE, Flame Map, FSPro, and WindWizard fire modeling tools utilizing LANDFIRE data products developed by the Fire Sciences Laboratory.
“There were a large number of audiences at the lecture. The seminar room was absolutely packed. It was the first time that the audience heard of Geoscience Australia and its spatial activities. They were pleased that Geoscience Australia took the initiative to apply Fire Sciences Lab’s fire simulation tools in Australia,” said Forghani.
The director of the FireLab, Colin Hardy emphasized the importance of Geoscience Australia as an Australian federal government agency in the spatial domain and its interest in applying FireLab’s technologies. ACRES is an equivalent of USGS’s EROS Data Center in Australia. Forghani’s Occasional Lecturer Fund visit allowed the initial steps to be taken for potential future collaborations between the two agencies. Forghani also comments on receiving positive feedback on his research in Berkeley.
“This visit was an excellent technology transfer and training opportunity,” said the Forghani. “Meeting with eminent fire scientists and developers of fire simulation models together in one city was more advantageous than I anticipated; the opportunity to discuss the fire modeling and run the applications side-by-side made this visit extraordinary.
“I gained an appreciation for the need to plan for testing a variety of different fire spread equations and parameters and hopefully to initiate a national Fire Simulation and Risk Assessment Database for Australia upon my return to Canberra that made it a very successful and productive visit. I was inspired to think and appreciate new approaches to fire simulation problems, considered new concepts, and established relationships with leading fire modeling colleagues.”
Forghani added that, currently, there is no spatial fire spread simulator applied nationally in Australia, but interest is growing among the Australasian fire community to adopt a common tool to improve decision-making for not only operations and planning, but also for reconstructing fire events to measure the success of suppression operations or investigate potential fire risk. “The lessons learned will be tested and replicated in two pilot study areas in Australia,” said Forghani. “However, to produce the first fuels and fire risk assessment products for the nation in a consistent, seamless and scientifically valid method, multiple agency participation will be required for development.”
From his Occasional Lecturer Fund visit to Missoula, Forghani was able to develop a greater network with the fire community beyond California at federal level; collect software, materials, and datasets; advanced his knowledge in fire simulation techniques; enhance his home institution’s visibility; and share his remote sensing and GIS expertise through discussions for improving FireLab’s LANDFIRE spatial products.