I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for your patronage to Wildlandfire.com. As most of you may be aware, we (FireWhat, Inc.) purchased Wildlandfire.com back in April of 2013. The purchase of the site was a mutual exchange between the founders and creators of Wildlandfire.com and FireWhat.com. As our companies visions aligned with the future of the fire service and technology, we forged ahead with the combining of resources.
Our first big project, Wildlandfire.com!
I know some have said, “Don’t fix something that isn’t broke!” Believe me, we have put several hours, days, months, of thought into how we best do this. We planned to begin working on the site last summer after the purchase finalized, but fire season hit hard, and we were off the races right away. This left us no option other than to hold on redevelopment, and wait out the storm. All of the folks at FireWhat are professional Wildland Firefighters, so we realized it’d be best to hold off until a break in the season would come.
Our first season as the owners of Wildlandfire.com wasn’t easy. It started off with the loss of Luke Sheehy of Susanville, the website being hacked, followed by the loss of several other firefighters, and the doozy, Granite Mountain. When we were going through the talks of taking on Wildlandfire.com, the previous owners told us, “there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, that most don’t know about. Being the first to know is one of them!” And this was the exact case the evening the Yarnell Fire took the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots! It hasn’t been an easy transition for us, but we are listening every day to advice and direction from our peers and leaders in the fire service!
Over the summer, we began working with Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) on how to best geo enable the site and provide better maps for the users. Over the last 12 months, we have developed a system, which I think you will all enjoy. The new maps will auto launch when a new post is added to the site. This will give users and folks in the field a better knowledge of the “what” related to the “where”. What I mean with that…
Esri has developed GIS Software since the 1960’s. The software we are using now is called, ArcGIS Online. A Web GIS system if you will. So those familiar with GIS will understand, we can tell a lot about a point on a map, with just a simple Lat/Long. The new maps will start telling a much better picture of what happened, what is happening, and what could happen. That’s the “what”. Now the “where” that all comes from the initial report on conditions or report of the incident. From the “where” we can quickly provide more intel to the troops in bound, and provide information that can help make better informed decisions.
This functionality will be coming over the next few months. The next big part of our development was this, the website. Although not an easy task to any standard, it was easier then solving the mapping issue. We have brought on a team of very qualified and smart folks. Our own Chief Technology Officer has been around the company since its inception back in 2011. He took on the project to lead the Development Team, Abra Marketing of Santa Rosa, to develop the new site.
There have been some comments on the design, the colors, and the format. And we understand, change is difficult, and we also understand, we aren’t going to get it right the first time! But that is part of our risk. We have been working hard over the last 12 months to spec out the site, we as firefighters would want!
With that, we are listening to the comments and working to make sure we address all the concerns as they come in!
So, with all that said, there is a lot more going on. We would love to have folks stop by and visit us. We are located in Dunsmuir, CA. Just about 45 Minutes north of the Redding Smokejumper Base and R5 North Region Cache. We are all firefighters, and are not a major conglomerate that some think we are. There is a team of 8 of us, working on products to provide the tools you all need.
Anything you think we need, should work on, or you have ever dreamed of, please don’t hesitate to stop in and visit us or drop us a note!
The changes will continue over the next few weeks. Mobile is coming. Remember me will be back shortly, and no, They Said did not disappear! All the function of the old site will be available, but it takes time to migrate everything over.
We are working to build a site for you!