Following the lightning. The Yakutsk Institute of Cosmophysics received lightning discharge tracking equipment from the Sinet Spark Foundation.

Spark Lab Forest Fires
One of nature's most hazardous phenomena, thunderstorms can seriously harm different economic sectors, start devastating forest fires, and damage utility networks and energy grids. For Yakutia, the issue of natural fires is particularly relevant because each year, fires significantly harm the Republic's woodland, not to mention their effect on the climate and ecosystem.

Together with specialists from SHICRA SB RAS, Spark Lab first season participants studied the areas most vulnerable to wildfires. The work was completed under the laboratory's Forest Fires direction. The implementation of a system of thunderstorm detectors as a result of this project opens the opportunity to evaluate the effect of thunderstorms on the local fire situation. 

For reference: 
SHICRA SB RAS (Yu.G. Shafer Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Aeronomy, Yakutsk Scientific Center, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences). 
One of the many areas of the Institute's work is observing the activity of thunderstorms in Yakutia. The organization uses satellites to monitor forest fires and associated meteorological parameters, and it has its own interactive map of local thunderstorm activity. 

Where and When Thunderstorms Begin

After studying the theoretical underpinnings and beginning work on the direction in February, the project participants developed the first iterations of the algorithms for lightning search and analysis and chose the sites for the future system in May. Six thunderstorm detectors made by ALVES LLC, one of Russia's top manufacturers of lightning location tools, were procured. Since the Lena-Vilyuy interfluves and the left bank of the Aldan River have historically been thought to be the areas most prone to fires, it was decided to deploy the new system of lightning detection to cover a sizable portion of these areas. 

The deployment of a system of lightning detectors, determining the direction of lightning discharges on Yakutia's territory, and comparing the coordinates of lightning discharges with the coordinates of fire origin points were the study's objectives. The resulting thunderstorm distribution maps will help increase the effectiveness of efforts to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of thunderstorm activity. The project team released the findings of the study in a brief report. The equipment procured for the project was donated to the Institute for Cosmophysical Research by the Sinet Spark Foundation for regional development. 

"We always planned to hand the lightning detectors over to SHICRA SB RAS after our project. I am confident that this equipment will support the advancement of science in the area," project manager Timur Alekseyev stated.

In the second season, which started in October, the Spark Lab participants intend to draw upon all of their findings, including information obtained from the lightning detection system. The Forest Fires direction has many more audacious plans, like creating special software to develop numerous scenarios for the spread of active forest fires. These short-term projections are intended to be displayed on a map substrate accessible via a web interface. We will monitor our guys' development and anticipate new accomplishments from them!