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SD Mines Professor Helps Invent New Tool to Better Prevent and Fight Wildfire

The 2016 Storm Hill Fire burning near Mitchell Lake in the Black Hills. Photo by Incident Commander Rob Lehmann. Thanks to Great Plains Fire Information.

State Fire Meteorologist, Darren Clabo, Ph.D., at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is helping create the Fire Risk Estimation tool (FiRE). The tool gives land managers and firefighting officials a more detailed look at fire potential across the Missouri River basin.

Smokey Bear signs that indicate overall fire danger are common along roadways in the western United States. The FiRE tool uses satellite and metrological data to create a much more detailed understanding of fire danger. The tool can give firefighters a critical edge. Fire managers say the “initial attack” phase during the first few hours of any of any wildfire is the most important time to gain control. When officials know the areas where fire danger is increasing ahead of time they can position resources and better prepare to quickly respond to any small fires before they grow into large incidences.   

“We can narrow this onto a 10-kiliometer grid scale, says Clabo. Previous tools only assessed fire danger on a wider scale, such as across national forest districts or across a county. “If the western two thirds of Pennington County is wet because they’ve gotten a series of thunderstorms, but some of the eastern areas are dry, we will know where a fire is more likely to start and spread.” Clabo adds.


Last Edited 6/30/2017 12:49:24 PM [Comments (0)]

Industry Software Gift Aids in Energy Research, Student Career Preparation

From left to right, Ron Jeitz, SD Mines Foundation officer; Eric Sullivan, Baker Hughes Inc. senior technical advisor, research & development; Heather Wilson, president, SD Mines; Scott Schmidt, Mines alumnus and Baker Hughes vice president, Drill Bits; Dr. Laurie Anderson, head of SD Mines Department of Geology & Geological Engineering; Rustom Mody, Baker Hughes vice president, Technical Excellence.

 New reservoir performance software donated to train students for petroleum industry careers will also support independent research projects of geology and geological engineering faculty and students.

The gift valued at $1.8 million from international oilfield services giant Baker Hughes Incorporated includes:

  • JewelSuite™ software for geologic modeling, reservoir engineering, 3D and 4D geomechanics, and wellbore stability
  • MFrac™ and MShale™ software packages for fracture modeling and design
  • Completion ArchiTEX™ (CTX) software for completions design.

The software will be used in geology and geological engineering classes, including drilling and production engineering, petroleum geology, the petroleum field camp and a new geomechanics course to help develop Mines students as future industry leaders. In recent years, 20 percent of Mines graduates have gone on to careers in the energy industry, and Baker Hughes has been the fifth-highest employer of Mines graduates for the past five years.

South Dakota School of Mines announced its Energy Resources Initiative three years ago to leverage the university’s expertise and research in rock properties, water resources and materials development, as well as its location in an energy-rich region of the country, within 300 miles of the Williston, Denver and Powder River basins. 

Last Edited 11/3/2016 03:21:20 PM [Comments (0)]