This new federal Wildland Fire Sensor Challenge, with up to $60,000 of prize money, is a great project for a St. Croix resident whose island is annually subjected to wildfires.
Wildfires on St. Croix are a yearly multi-million dollar threat. In addition to the staggering costs of fighting the fires, the island also loses forest and agricultural land. Resident homes and jobs are put at risk. Air quality declines during wildfire events posing lung disease and cancer risks to those nearby.
Read the requirements below and on the federal government website. Perhaps a Virgin Islander will be the one to solve a challenge that affects billions of lives worldwide!
Do you have ideas on new air pollution measurement strategies for wildfire events?
Six federal agencies have announced a Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge seeking an accurate, lower-cost, and low-maintenance air quality monitoring system that can be used during a wildfire or controlled fire. The data provided by the sensor system will help federal, state, local and tribal agencies protect the health of first responders and communities affected by the smoke. Developers are encouraged to submit a prototype sensor system that measures fine particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3) and carbon dioxide (CO2). The system should be capable of rapid deployment and continuous real-time monitoring of highly dynamic air pollution levels during a fire event. Developers should also aim for designs that are easy to use and self-powered; include location data; and wirelessly transmit data to a central data-receiving station.
Written submissions are due by Nov. 22, 2017 and prototypes must be submitted byJan. 5, 2018. The sensor systems will be evaluated in government specialty labs based on 1) accuracy over a wide range of pollutant levels, 2) system cost, and 3) operation requirements relevant for wildland fire deployment. All developers who submit prototypes will receive direct feedback on laboratory tests and end user review. The Challenge total award pool is $60,000, which may be awarded in total to one winner if all the requirements are met, or divided into several partial awards. Prize winner(s) will be selected following the conclusion of judging in summer 2018.
The sponsors of the Sensors Challenge are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Park Service (NPS). The non-profit organization, Tall Timbers Research Station, is also a partner.