Satellite imagery assists firefighters

Release Date: 
Thursday, September 23, 2004

For Immediate Release

Forest fire smoke was so thick in Interior Alaska on some days during the summer of 2004 that firedetection aircraft could not fly. On a few of those occasions, the Alaska Fire Service sent smokejumpers to fight fires that were detected only by satellites more than 400 miles above Alaska, using information processed by the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Buck Sharpton, director of the GINA program, will discuss the 2004 fire season and GINA's role during the International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium at the Egan Center in Anchorage at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 24. The extreme fire season, during which more than 6 million acres of Alaska burned, made the satellite a tool that mapmakers and other firefighting personnel used several times each day. GINA team members provided the Alaska Fire Service realtime images of Alaska and emailed them fire alerts whenever the satellite detected them.

Amy Hartley, Geophysical Institute Information Officer, (907) 474-5823