Mapmakers: The Unsung Heroes in the Battle Against Wildfires

From the Seattle Post by Jack Broom
Aug. 28, 2015

Greg Tudor, 50, of Olympia, is one of seven such specialists working on the Okanogan fire complex. That’s the most mapmakers Tudor has ever seen at a fire, and he’s been doing this since 2003, first as a state Department of Natural Resources employee and now as a private contractor.

But then, he’s never seen a fire quite like this one, the largest in state history, measured at more than 302,000 acres Friday — about 470 square miles. Another fire to the east, the North Star fire, has reached 300 square miles.

The mapmakers on the Okanogan fire are part of a 50-person incident-management team that also includes experts on fire strategy and fire behavior, as well as those who deal with the many needs of running a massive firefighting response.

“Everything it takes to put a small city together at a moment’s notice,” said fire information officer Bernie Pinieda.

As a mapmaker on wildfires, Tudor has seen his art go from producing hand-drawn maps on a wall to generating and sharing online fire depictions that crew bosses can load onto laptops or take with them on handheld devices. The maps show such details as fire perimeters, cleared fire lines, resupply points, threatened structures and more.  Click on link to read on:




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