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During the 2012 fire season I was able to really put Dragon Plot to
the test, not only in the tower I staff for BLM but literally in the
field.  For a period of time I was evacuated from my tower due to the
Rush fire in North eastern CA.  During this time out of the tower, I
pre-located 26 vantage points in the field that gave me views of the
landscape visible from the tower, and by using the temporary tower
function, basically was able to perform as a fixed lookout from any
one of them.  Also, when lightning occurred, Dragon Plot went with me
on patrol.  With a GPS, the scope (which I clamped to the window of
the truck) and internet access via the wireless card, I was able to
get right into the middle of the cell activity, plot down strikes in
real-time and access the BLM lighting location website to boot.  This
proved to be a phenomenally successful use of the DP unit.

Dragon Plot was also used during 2012 fire season to provide mapping
data for the Lost, Rush, Marr and Likely Fires (both as an
exercise/experiment for my own testing of the DP system and officially
with the incident GIS mapping people).  Forward progress of the fire
lines was mapped with astounding accuracy, with shot errors of 150
feet or less at distances from 46 to 12 miles.  On the Rush fire,
Dragon Plot was used by the lookout staff at  Observation Peak to plot
and map the perimeters of the mosaic burn pattern within the fire
lines.  These interior unburned pockets of vegetation are the
remaining viable habitat zones for Sage Grouse, deer, wild horse and
other fauna of the area and Dragon Plot was used to make the first map
of these remaining habitat areas.  This gave the IC, battalion and
field units valuable insight for resource allocation during the mop-up
phase of the fire.

During the 2012 fire season Dragon Plot was used from the tower I
staff to remotely assist another lookout in the area by providing
accurate, real-time assistance both in accessing the geographic
location of a smoke for ground units in route, clarification of the
locations for lighting down strikes in the area of other lookouts and,
on two occasions, even plotting and calling in a shot from another
tower based on their azimuth and pitch readings while being on the
ground at a fire station!  Additionally, Observation Peak Lookout was
able to act as an information distribution point (Thanks to
DragonPlot!) for approaching weather (lighting) by giving accurate
virtual real time tracking info to the surrounding fire lookouts.  No
more guess work about a thunder cell's location, with DP you can get
satellite imagery, down strikes, doppler radar, RAWS and what ever
else you need, plus when the smoke starts showing a no guess work
means to plot it!

William Johnson
Observation Peak Lookout
Susanville Interagency Fire Center
Susanville, CA

For further information on the DragonPlot® Wildfire Positioning System contact Tom Craven/GeodesyBase, Inc. at (541) 815-1309 and

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Observation Peak Lookout
2012 Fire Season, William Johnson