BreezoMeter has developed and is launching a new, unified Fires Data API, to address the growing global phenomenon of rapidly spreading wildfires. These fires, which occur more and more frequently as a result of climate change, wildland-urban interface construction, and other factors, directly and negatively affect the air quality, create extremely high levels of toxic air pollution.
This novel, and easy-to-integrate API that complements BreezoMeter's air quality data API, provides available information on active wildfires worldwide. BreezoMeter’s customers and their users can benefit from this additional data by becoming more aware and better prepared to protect themselves from extreme pollution, caused by the exposure to smoke from nearby wildfires.
Previous blog coverage on California Wildfires.
Challenges in Tracking Fires
At any given time, there are hundreds, even thousands of active wildfires around the world. In the US alone, there were 58,083 wildfires that took place during 2018, burning about 8.7 million acres.* These fires are dynamic, and their perimeters and behaviors are constantly changing. Fires are typically monitored and reported by various sources and methods, such as governmental satellites, fire departments, governmental agencies, etc. Given the variation in data collection methods and data sharing platforms, it is impossible to grasp the full picture of impact for all fire events by relying on a single source, even within one specific country.
Consequently, people suffer from the uncertainty of not knowing about current wildfires in their surroundings and further afield. Pollutants from active and recent wildfires can travel broadly, crossing state boundaries and country borders, and can negatively affect people’s health.
Read on: Air Pollution Knows No Boundaries
BreezoMeter’s Solution for Wildfires Data
BreezoMeter’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of billions of people around the world by democratizing environmental data and making it relevant and intuitive. As such, providing a reliable source for wildfires events, as they are happening, worldwide, is a logical expansion of the current product offerings, which include air quality data, pollen data, and weather data APIs. The wildfires information, gathered from multiple sources, each with its own structure, parameters, and attributes, is processed by BreezoMeter’s newest algorithms to create a final product that provides all available information in a unified structure that is easy to understand and act upon.
A Complementary API to Air Quality Data API
The Fires API is an important supplement to BreezoMeter’s air quality and pollen data APIs, as it provides additional information on most fire events worldwide, which can have significant impact on air quality conditions, and consequently on your users’ health.
How should the Fires API be used?
To make sure your users are covered, the fires API should be integrated in conjunction with the air quality data API. This way, you’ll be able to alert your users on a nearby fire, and help them be better prepared for fire risks, by providing them with important information about these fires, and keeping them more aware and alerted to pay close attention to the frequent air quality changes that may take place in their surroundings.
Do you know what happens to air quality after a wildfire?
Fires API Technology
BreezoMeter’s Fires algorithm is based on extensive environmental research. Data is collected from many different sources, including global and geostationary satellites, governmental and municipal authorities, fire departments, and various projects dedicated to creating and gathering the best information on fire events, each in its own jurisdiction.
In the next step, BreezoMeter accesses all relevant sources, to collect different types of fire indications, which enables the provision of fire data on a much higher resolution or a given location, on an hourly basis, which could not be achieved by relying on a single data source alone.
Lastly, BreezoMeter analyzes and processes the raw data into a structure that can be easily interpreted and understood by the general population. This processing includes:
- Filtering of a portion of the data in order to reduce unwanted “noise,” such as fires that are no longer relevant, or hotspots that are unlikely to be actual wildfires;
- Clustering multiple fire indications so as not to report a single fire as multiple fires when several hotspots are reported by different sources in different ways but are in fact a single fire; and
- Interpreting the results to turn raw data into understandable, actionable fire information.
The end product is an organized Fires API that makes available and actionable hourly fires information. The API can be queried globally, and can be served based on its relevance to the user’s location - with a single API call, through a unified endpoint.
BreezoMeter is continuously working to improve our environmental data APIs, with the goal of helping end users improve their health by reducing their exposure to harmful pollutants. Specifically for fires information, we are working to add data from more sources and create new features such as: Fire Perimeter, Fire Behavior, Fire Danger Risk, Fire Relevance, Fire Growth Potential, Wind Information, and many more. Stay tuned!
*The National Interagency Fire Center, ‘National Report of Wildland Fires and Acres Burned by State’, 2018, https://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/intelligence/2018_statssumm/fires_acres18.pdf