Tennessee state firefighters have a new high-tech tool in their arsenal


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – In 2016, the tragic fire in the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area prompted the Tennessee Divison of Agriculture – Division of Forestry to invest in a new computer system to track wildfires and compile real-time information.

The 2016 Gatlinburg Fire

The new system went online last summer and is described as a computer-automated dispatch system with a few extra bells and whistles. State Fire Chief Wade Waters and Communications & Outreach Unit Leader Tim Phelps gave us a demonstration.

“This allows us from our Nashville Headquarters, and anybody in the field from a mobile application or on a computer can see any anything and any incident that we’re a part of across the state at any given time, as well as the status of that incident, where all of our resources are, both personnel and pieces of equipment,” Waters explained.

“As we dig in, if we want to know more about a particular incident, we’re simply able to click on it, and you can see we have a series of base maps here. This is just a quick topographical view. We can see a host of information related to that particular incident, where it is, who’s there. Individuals on the fire can map it in real-time and it will show up for us to be able to see what’s going on. The incident log, anybody from their phone, or dispatchers can put on, put in real-time information.”

We’ll get a series of alerts if something was going on, whether it’s on our phones or on a computer. We’ll get a series of alerts as anything goes on any incident across the state. So this really gives us a holistic picture of what’s going on. And this is something that we didn’t have this tool in 2016.”

In the near future, this system will also tie in with the federal databases which will help with needs evaluations on a regional and national level.

The public can also see the mapping of fires in the state of Tennessee by going to tnwildlandfire.gov.

To see the mapping of wildfires nationwide go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.

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