WFCA unveils Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies to bridge research and practice


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A pioneering effort for resilience

The Western Fire Chiefs Association (WFCA) has revealed a significant initiative to support and enhance resilience across various sectors.

In a landmark move, WFCA has launched the Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies (ASC), aimed at creating a connection between research and practice.

The ASC is envisioned as a collaborative platform involving communities, government bodies, industries, and academia.

Its purpose is to foster resilience within society through focused research and development initiatives.

Resilience against wildfires: the inaugural research

Backed by funding from NASA’s Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division, the ASC’s first research project is centred on improving wildfire technology and decision-making processes.

This effort aims to create a flexible decision matrix and model to assess investments in wildland technologies, doctrine, and operations.

The ultimate goal is to enhance the first responders’ ability to adapt to the evolving challenges of increased wildfire threats.

The vision for this project has been jointly developed with the Moore Foundation and former State Fire Marshal of California, Chief Kate Dargan, in reaction to the mounting threats of wildfires and the difficulties of acquiring actionable intelligence.

Dr. Katelynn Kapalo and co-investigator Brian Collins are leading this initiative.

They are focusing on identifying essential technology investments for the initial 24-hour response to wildland-urban interface fires.

“Our central goal is to support incident management teams making decisions in dynamic and changing environments where intelligence gathered and resource management is critical to the decision-making process,” said Collins and Kapalo.

For this venture, ASC will partner with Processus and Obsidian, leveraging data and decision science expertise used across military, training, and medical fields.

Commitment to innovation and resilience

ASC Director, Chief (ret.) Bob Horton, voiced his enthusiasm for the approach: “We are proud to have the confidence of NASA to conduct this important work.

“Our role is to connect the research community and experts from other domains to practitioners on the ground.

“This initiative will directly benefit our firefighters and offer guidance to academia and industry alike, spurring innovation and progress.”

WFCA President Mark Niemeyer marked the occasion, saying: “The WFCA is expected to bring innovation into the fire service.

“The ASC shows our commitment to doing just that, and we are excited to be unveiling it, and looking forward to announcing our new partners and projects in the coming weeks.”

For more details about the Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies and the Western Fire Chiefs Association, please visit here.

IFSJ Comment

The launch of the Applied Sciences Center for Resilience Studies by WFCA signifies a remarkable step in unifying practical application with scientific research.

By targeting both wildfire technology and broader resilience strategies, this effort promises to drive innovation and contribute significantly to the knowledge base, empowering communities, firefighters, and first responders.

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