Mapping grassland fires in Wales
The Welsh Government has been supported by Y Lab's Digital Innovation Accelerator to develop a tool to help prevent deliberate fires on areas of open grassland in Wales, an area of concern to policy makers in the government, police, the fire and rescue services and more.
There are immediate dangers faced by those coming into contact with open grassland fires - health risks associated with the smoke, the potential enviornmental and property damage the fires may cause, and the direct resource implications for the Fire Service in extinguishing the fires.
Our project is providing a cross organisation analysis tool, which presents data on the deliberate fires on grassland within Wales, and the physical, social, environmental factors that may be associated. The tool will be used to help inform targeted strategies for planning, operational deployment and engagement activities to help reduce the impact and number of such fires.
The first Digital Innovation Accelerator workshop with Satori Lab was a chance to learn more about innovation methods. Our peers questioned some of our assumptions about our project, raising questions such as: Can deliberate fires be helpful in some circumstances (e.g. controlled burning)? What is the connection with criminal damage? And, do different land types affect the propensity for fire setting?
It's exciting to be working within an area of innovation which is gaining traction. We're hoping to push data sharing within Wales, clarify some of the wider requirements and opportunities, and examine some of the new data analysis platforms which could work with the emerging open data services and existing toolsets.
We now need to widen the interest and ensure the governance arrangements are sound. Exploring the potential connection with crime and other data has also become a priority. And we need to establish a clearer definition of terms, design options and preliminary market investigation.
We hope to be in the process of mobilising our procurement workstream in time for our next blog.
Image CC0 Public Domain