On Fire: A Glimpse into BC Wildfire Service Incident Mapping

Wes Smith, BC Government

The Province of BC, for two consecutive years, has experienced record wildfire seasons. A coordinated emergency response has been multi-agency and involves tens of thousands of human resources. From RCMP to firefighters, and from finance clerks to Directors, Geomatics products and staff have played a significant role in the response.

On Fire: A Glimpse into BC Wildfire Service Incident MappingWith BC Wildfire Service (BCWS), on-site geomatics support presents a challenging and rewarding experience for deployed Geomatics staff. As a technical specialist in the Plans section of the ICS system, GIS specialists typically work alone, providing support for all geomatics needs.

A high daily volume of data that is processed from many sources (from field-collected data to satellite imagery), short timeframes, and map distribution (in a variety of formats) require a clear system that is both precise and flexible. Cartographic products are generated from both templates but can be custom, but they must be always be effective—and there is a lot on the line.

As a Temporary Emergency Assignment Management System (TEAMS) member with BCWS, I have enjoyed many deployments and have been influenced by the systems put in place to ensure data is captured, processed, and disseminated to those who need it. This short talk would provide a brief overview of these systems, including the following: receiving and processing data, producing maps useful to the crews in the field, and how maps are shared to emergency responders.

On Fire: A Glimpse into BC Wildfire Service Incident Mapping