These components were developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) – an American research institution – together with additional government and research agencies in the US – including the US Air Force and Navy – in a model known as the Weather Research Forecast (WRF).
The two components complement each other, creating a single, complete picture. The atmospheric conditions have a large impact on the behavior of a fire, especially wind and moisture levels of vegetation.
The "Matash" system is based on tools and models which combine all the essential variables. The system features:
- A two-dimensional map
- A three-dimensional model
- Maps of potential fires and high-risk areas
- Weather forecasts for the next three days at a 1.3 km resolution
- Prediction of the fire’s behavior for the next six hours, within 30 minutes
- Prediction of the fire’s behavior for the next hour, within 10 minutes
The system uses the Internet Geographic Information System (GIS), and is based on Google Maps and Google Earth. It receives live feedback based on the area's conditions and the fire's intensity and location, at a resolution of 1.3 square Kilometers; and updates meteorological information four times a day.
The "Matash" system receives positional data from field reports, enters the information, and creates a prediction of the fire's development, based on the environment and atmosphere. In addition, the system has an accuracy level of within 50 meters.
The "Matash" system aids in decision making, by providing information to staff on two main parameters: the rate at which the fire is advancing (speed and direction) and the intensity of the fire at its front and sides. This information helps in making decisions such as whether or not to evacuate, how to attack the fire, and what resources should be sent to the different areas of the fire.
The "Matash" system is used in cooperation by all rescue and environmental agencies: The Fire and Rescue Services, the Israel Police, the JNF fire service, and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.