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Sunday, May 9th, 2021

DHS technology aids wildland firefighters


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) personnel are touting Team Awareness Kit (TAK) utilization – a training tool aiding California firefighters in wildland response efforts.

The mobile application harnesses wildfire situational awareness data and DHS S&T recently offered an initial virtual training, providing such features as video sharing, location tracking of fire equipment, fire perimeters from aircraft, and fire model forecasts.

“DHS S&T is committed to providing firefighters the tools they need to communicate with each other, especially as they battle the increasing threats of the wildland fire season,” S&T Program Manager Denis Gusty said. “Putting TAK in the hands of all wildland firefighters enables these first responders to communicate with voice and data whenever and wherever possible.”

TAK is a geospatial mapping and common operating picture program developed for the military special operations community. Amid the 2020 fire season, the technology was used to share live tracking information from the Fire Integrated Real-Time Intelligence System (FIRIS) program on California’s Blue Ridge and Silverado Fires.

“We are very pleased with the success of this first training,” Gusty said. “We hope that the TAK tool will see more widespread use to help first responders precisely identify, track and coordinate locations and resources during wildfire incident response.”

The training was done in conjunction with FIRIS and the City of Corona Fire Department. The endeavor also leveraged national interagency wildfire efforts, including a nationwide TAK server hosted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.