A Review of Wildfires and Drought Conditions for the Capital Area Council of Governments: 2002 to 2012
Rubio Perez, Emmanuel
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An analysis of available national data on droughts and wildfires indicate that Texas has encompassed a fluctuating drought for over a decade. The central and western portions of the state have been affected particularly severely. In 2011 for example, the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) endured drastic drought and wildfire conditions. Counties such as Bastrop, made major news headlines as the Bastrop County Complex Fire consumed more than 30,000 acres. While the use of technology to track and manage wildfire threat has increased in recent years, a project I just completed in BOR 6302, Introduction to GIS, found that many smaller county and city fire services are lacking the historical digital data that could be used to prepare for future wildfires, mitigate the damage caused, and expedite recovery operations. Therefore, the purpose of research is to muster the data of the enduring wildfire and drought conditions over the decade spanning 2002 to 2012 across the CAPCOG. The research of acquired data incorporated within the archives kept by various organizations to include the Texas A&M Forest Service, Water Data for Texas Organization, Southern Regional Climate Center, Water Development Board, and the United States Drought Monitor. This project produced a visual data set of the historical drought and wildfire conditions for the fire services, emergency managers, and community leaders within that jurisdiction in order to help enhance their planning efforts for future events.