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Supporting the Wildfire Response Common Operational Picture with Project Vesta

The Project Vesta team believes our technology will prove to be a critically important tool for wildfire prevention, response, and mitigation. Wildfires are not going away. They are increasingly more frequent, more deadly, and more expansive in their reach. Wildfires are a major component in a quickening cycle of climate destruction - exacerbating environmental changes that, in turn, increase wildfire risk. Now, more than ever, is the time for both action AND innovation. Wildfire response is not a single department or one agency job; it requires the concerted and shared efforts of many.

The innovators and collaborators of Project Vesta have a common vision. The National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG) identifies over 100 specific roles in support of wildfire response: a potentially unlimited amount of needed data across a wide spectrum of platforms. In any wildfire scenario, these activities must come together, integrate, operate, and dissolve in varying degrees of size, rapidity, and geography. A common operational picture (COP) supports sharing of information, mutual understanding, and constant, timely communication through tools like satellite imagery, drone and ground surveillance, mobile communications, human interface, data analysis, and more.

Project Vesta’s technology package is determining ways to enhance the wildfire COP by providing:

  1. Localized atmospheric collection

  2. Fuel Load analysis and persistent surveillance in a prescribed area

  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology that supports prediction, detection, and coordinated response efforts

  4. Electric and renewable autonomous mobility within an area of interest

  5. Rapid and autonomous aerial and ground fire mitigation support

  6. Real time enhanced situational awareness of: location, tasking, logistical status of personnel and assets; and locations of fires and their predicted paths over time.

Each supporting element of Vesta creates a more thorough COP - and supports the firefighting team - by increasing visibility of areas of interest, providing highly localized weather and geographical information, conducting analysis to better inform human preparation, potentially reducing the need for “boots on the ground” in inaccessible and/or lower priority areas, and supporting the firefighter with additional mitigation tools. The Project Vesta package will not replace the firefighter, but it can add a valuable firefighting weapon to his/her arsenal and form a true human machine team that will safeguard lives and speed response times.

The Naval Postgraduate School, SoCal Tech Bridge, and the rest of the collaborative team are excited to demonstrate this technology, share knowledge, and receive feedback from industry experts and the firefighting community. An initial experiment of Project Vesta’s capabilities is planned for the 14th - 18th of February at Camp Roberts, CA, and will include the Vesta technology in action during live, controlled burns. Follow for more information on our website and social media platoforms as we get closer!

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