Elevating Fire Management with OroraTech’s Fire Spread: ARAUCO’s Experience

In wildfire management, the speed and accuracy of initial responses can significantly influence the containment and eventual suppression of fires. Since 2020, OroraTech has been helping ARAUCO, a leading paper and forest production manufacturer with headquarters in Chile to protect its assets from fires. Throughout the years, our Wildfire Solution has proven to be very effective for timely hotspot detection, and wildfire monitoring, serving as an essential tool for our customers during devastating fire seasons.

Kim Feuerbacher and Daniel Santos visit Roberto Muñoz at the ARAUCO office in Chile

This year, our newest Fire Spread product – designed for situational awareness and fast estimations of how a fire will develop – had yet to be tested on the field. This blog explores how our customers from Chile utilize Fire Spread in real-life scenarios to combat wildfires on the ground, and what future enhancements are needed.

Transforming Challenges into Actionable Strategies with Fire Spread

Daily operations in fire management are fraught with challenges, particularly the need for quick and actionable data that can be translated into effective firefighting strategies. Ignacia Martinez, Responsible for Analysis and Projects at ARAUCO, must often translate valuable orbital data and operationalize them for the firefighters on the ground. “The main challenge is not just to see the fire simulation and where it could grow, but to transform the information into tangible strategies that reduce time to suppression and minimize damages,” she explains. 

Daniel Santos, Kim Feuerbacher and Ignacia Martinez at the ARAUCO office in Chile

According to Ignacia, our Fire Spread simulation stands out for its user-friendliness, speed, and precision. Unlike other tools that require specialized technical knowledge, Fire Spread facilitates easy adoption and integration into existing workflows. Ignacia notes, “It’s fast and intuitive, allowing me to do everything from a single interface without the need for additional software installations.”

Fire Spread Product in Action

Ignacia’s integration of the Wildfire Solution platform into her daily workflow is meticulous. Scheduled satellite overpasses are monitored closely; any detection of fire triggers an immediate report to all supervisors to ensure that all potential fires are identified and addressed promptly. Satellite data becomes especially crucial when traditional monitoring systems are overwhelmed, providing a reliable fallback that ensures continuous oversight.

Ignacia Martinez checking the Fire Spread of a newly emerging fire

During emergencies, Fire Spread’s real-time capabilities come to the forefront of her attention. Ignacia, stationed at the monitoring center, receives updates on fire situations. When a fire is expected to last over 2 hours, she runs simulations, updates them with real-time data, and sends detailed analyses to field crews. “As soon as dispatch sends crews to a fire and it’s clear that it will take more than 2 hours to mitigate, I get the coordinates and run the simulation,” she explains. These communications include not just simulations but also essential factors like weather forecasts and strategic advice, making each communication a vital tool for on-ground crews.

El Quillay Fire Spread in Chile, detected on January 18, 2024. Visualization via OroraTech’s Wildfire Solution platform.

A standout example from the past fire season that illustrates the effectiveness of our Fire Spread is the El Quillay fire, which occurred on January 18, 2024. While Ignacia’s team primarily utilized another tool for their operations, Fire Spread was run in parallel to provide a comparative analysis. The simulation from our product accurately predicted a significant northern progression of the fire. Although it initially overestimated the spread towards the West, this discrepancy was due to effective suppression efforts actively being conducted on that front. The results from OroraTech’s Fire Spread turned out to be effective and reliable on the field, not just in theory. “The tool proved its effectiveness in several large fires, boosting our confidence to adopt it fully for the next fire season,” Ignacia shares.

ARAUCO’s Feedback and Future Enhancements

Ignacia highlights the intuitive design and user-friendliness of Fire Spread. Looking ahead, she is excited about the potential for more complex simulations that remain user-friendly and quick. “I trust in OroraTech to keep improving and deliver what we need. The future looks promising with potential enhancements like mobile accessibility for on-field use by our incident commanders,” she reflects.

Daniel Santos greeting a firefighter crew during the visit to ARAUCO, Chile

As we continue enhancing our product, Fire Spread will feature automatic updates with new detections, enhancing its effectiveness as our thermal sensor network expands its overpass capacity. The combination of Fire Spread capabilities with other data relevant to Triage structures will enhance decision-making by evaluating threat levels, identifying potentially affected assets, and guiding resource allocation strategies.

We plan to equip incident commanders in the field with ability to run simulations directly on their mobile devices, integrating seamlessly with their existing systems. This development promises to transform Fire Spread into a vital decision-support tool that enhances coordination and efficiency across different levels of fire management.

Improve Your Fire Response with Fire Spread

As we continue to refine and enhance Fire Spread, the potential for broader application across wildfire management operations is immense. We invite fire management professionals to consider how Fire Spread could revolutionize their response strategies and operational efficiency. For more information get in touch with our experts.

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