Dr Rory Hadden studies wildfires from inside using 360-degree water-cooled camera

Forest fire seen from the sky
Forest wildfire
Dr Rory Hadden has been working with engineers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland, USA, the US Forest Service, and New Jersey Forest Fire Service to observe the behaviour of forest fires from within using a 360-degree water-cooled camera.

The cutting-edge equipment provides scientists and engineers with the ability to see inside prescribed fires and potentially wildfires using virtual reality technologies together with footage captured using the 360-degree camera.

The technology was developed at NIST by Dr Matthew Hoehler who teamed up with the School’s Dr Rory Hadden and Dr Michael Gallagher, a fire researcher at the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, to deploy the technology during high-intensity experimental research burns.

The research burns were conducted by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) in conjunction with their annual prescribed burning program, which has been taking place in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as part of forest management since 1935.

The team’s research is particularly concerned with the role of firebrands – small particles generated by the fire – which pose a significant risk to structures at the wildland-urban interface.

Hadden commented, “The ability to see inside the wildfire is essential to help corroborate our experimental findings. For example, we have previously used video footage to identify where firebrands are generated. Being able to do this using the 360-degree footage will reduce the number of measurement points needed and allow us to see what happens after the fires passes the measurement point.”

Source: In the Eye of the Fire - https://www.nist.gov/featured-stories/eye-fire

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