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Vancouver Island researchers developing way to predict forest fires

WATCH: Vancouver Island researchers are working on a way of predicting forest fires as much as two weeks in advance.

In what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons in history, scientists at the Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria are trying to find a way to forecast forest fires.

Researchers are developing a model that they hope will predict where forest fires will occur up to two weeks before they happen.

“We know the conditions today, we have weather forecasts which are increasingly accurate, and we have past history,” said Steve Taylor, fire researcher at Natural Resources Canada.

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Scientists hope to use increasingly powerful computers that will integrate fire history, current weather conditions and expected drying trends to create an early warning system.

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Having crews and equipment in place before a wildfire sparks could save millions of dollars in firefighting costs and millions more in timber royalties, not to mention preserving millions in personal property.

When asked to rate the model’s accuracy on a scale of one to 10, Taylor said he hopes it will be a seven.

“It’s very difficult to predict where a fire is going to occur exactly,” he said.

They hope to launch the new technology in the summer of 2017.

-With files from Ted Chernecki

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