Colorado professor developing app for firefighters battling wildfires

DURANGO, Colo. -- It’s one of the biggest risks for firefighters: How to get away from a wildfire when it gets out of control. A Colorado professor is working on a high-tech solution that could help save lives.

The idea is for firefighters to have an interactive map such as like Google Maps that could tell them the most efficient escape routes and the amount of time it would take to get out of danger.

Fort Lewis College professor Michael Campbell, who teaches computer mapping technology at the Durango school, is developing an app for just that.

He had the opportunity to apply that technology when the 416 Fire broke out in southwest Colorado in June.

Campbell provided up-to-date mapping to keep residents informed of where the fire was spreading.

“Being able to see a wildland fire environment up close and personal really adds an extra motivation to the work that we do,” Campbell said.

“It’s the least that we can to do to be able to provide them with some kind of mapping application that will make their jobs easier, and, hopefully, make their jobs a little safer.”

Campbell has been working on the app for about five years. He said there is no timetable on when it will be completed because they want to make sure it is 100 percent accurate.

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