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Advanced Warning of Precise Fire Danger Locations Saves Lives and Money for Utilities

High fire danger identified by utility poles using Raster Reports satellite analysis
Precise locations of identified high fire danger along utility lines using Raster Reports satellite analysis.

Vegetation management has been based historically on multi-year cyclical inspections, supplemented by high resolution imagery, lidar, drought indices and other analyses to produce encroachment-based mitigation. Prioritization of vegetation management is often dependent on revenue or number of customers on a circuit, while identifying precise areas of increased ignition danger takes a secondary role or is ignored entirely. As the number of people affected by wildland fire continues to grow, a more predictive model to identify exact locations of increased fire danger is necessary. By using predictive modeling to prioritize precisely where to trim first, vegetation management becomes more lifesaving and cost effective. Resources are allocated based on empirical, testable, and repeatable data analyses, reducing the reliance on random inspections and coincidental observations in the field. The ability to identify specific trouble areas of vegetation is imperative, especially when there are thousands of miles of easements or rights-of-way to monitor.

There is another side to this coin, however, that is often overlooked. Vegetation Management and System Integrity are separate levels of effort, but they are closely related in terms of overall safety of the system. If a specific area of increased fire danger is identified, vegetation inspections and trimmings are good, but that is only the beginning of reducing risk. The poles, structures, and all their assets in that trouble area should at minimum be referenced to see when they were last inspected, repaired, or replaced. If there is no record of inspection, if the time since last inspection is more than a year or two, or if the records are incomplete, these assets should be prioritized for mid-cycle inspections.

Raster Report’s data analysis provides advanced warning of increased fire danger conditions for vegetation all over the world, at multiple times within a season. Our analysis best serves discrete spatial scales with defined boundaries such as rural municipalities, observatories, airports, easements or rights-of-way containing utilities, and many other locations near the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI).

Below are some questions that often come up when considering Raster Report’s analysis. We are happyto address anything not covered here as well.

Q. How are these results delivered to vegetation management crews?

A. Raster Report can provide a simple map of the most recent trouble locations in a pdf or other preferred electronic format.

Q. Can the results be input to a GIS, VMS, WMS, etc.?

A. Raster Report’s results can be displayed via a GIS Portal, Dashboard, or incorporated into a management system. This will require more in-depth consultation to identify the requirements necessary for this delivery.

Q. Can we just get a stand-alone analysis without costly integrations?

A. Raster Report can provide stand-alone results on Day 1 to get crews out to priority locations without wasting time. Considerations for integrated deliveries can be worked on down the road, while Raster Report still delivers results.

Q. Are different cost tiers available?

A. For many places, fire season is year-round. For utilities, every inch of conductor is a potential ignition source. Raster Report can provide analysis on a less frequent basis, but continuous rolling analysis is strongly recommended for updated identification of increased fire danger areas.

Q. When do we see the results?

A. Now

Q. Many organizations allocate funding years in advance. How can prioritized mid-cycle inspections based on Raster Report’s analysis be justified?

A. There have been far too many fatal incidents in recent years in which human caused fires to have occurred due to lack of proper vegetation management and asset maintenance. The cost of mitigation will always be far less than the cost of damage control. If an imminent danger is identified, mitigative action must be prioritized. These actions can start with verifying recency and completeness of inspection records and continue with smaller scale mid-cycle aerial or field inspections of the precise danger locations identified by Raster Report.

If you would like to learn more about how Raster Report can help your organization with improved safety, better system integrity, and lowered operations and maintenance costs, please reach out to us at


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