FireGuardians are fire workers that work in symbiosis with fire and nature. The outcome of the project is an identity for fire workers, to shape the vision of a preferable future.
Wildfires are natural phenomena responsible for creating healthy forest ecosystems. As they destroy one side, they are also allowing new life to the forest. Even though they are natural, humans inherently fear wildland fires and are suppressing them. Following these strong suppression strategies and anthropogenic climate effects, the world has seen unprecedented fires. This collision of science and culture was the starting point for this project.
With FLIR, a leading manufacturer for infrared cameras and detection devices, this project focuses on how we can move from a culture of waging war on fire to living with fire. It is an exploration of how society can take a step away from the Anthropocene and take a step towards a world governed by the needs of the planet. It puts the question: What if wildfires are an accepted part of our landscape?
The entry point for this project was a collaborative approach with firefighters, scientists, and wildfire survivors from around the world to build a foundation for design. Using speculative design methods for world-building, and strongly focusing on non-human stakeholders and an environment centered design process.
The proposal is a preferable future where a new profession is introduced, which allows us to be part of the ecosystem again. FireGuardians are introduced following the year 2025 after the world has seen devastating wildfires. They work together with fire through low intensity prescribed burns to harden the landscape. This way, they prepare the landscape for anthropogenic climate effects and allow forests to become healthy and resilient once again.
The outcome of the project are multiple pieces resembling the FireGuardians and together they create an identity.
The first one is an identity for fire workers, FireGuardians, reflected through an entirely newly designed uniform and logo. The CMF behind the uniform and identification was crucial. It should not resemble the same colors as today's firefighters. Still, it should include the heritage of them since firefighting is their heritage. FireGuardians uniforms consist partly out of old recycled fire fighting uniforms. This way, they bring their culture into their new job.
FLIR FG HR
FLIR FG HR is an integrated Monitoring device for health data but also environmental data. It can be quickly taken off in case a FireGuardian needs to change their shirt and charging. It tracks GPS, environment data, and health data. With this data, we can learn from it and use it for better planning and managing.
FLIR FG SR
FireGuardians are spending up to three weeks in the wilderness conducting significant prescribed burns. So they have to carry a lot of equipment and supplies in the wilderness where no vehicle can go. FLIR is supporting the FireGuardians with the FG SR. A soft robotic exosuit. It utilizes the principles of body mechanics to help support FireGuardians carry heavy loads into the field so they can conduct their work without any problem. It consists of four structural pieces that are connected.
FLIR FG DC
The planning for the job of the FireGuardian is as essential as conducting their work. FLIR FG DC, which has the monitoring data integrated from Flir FR HR, is a map that allows FireGuardians to plan and conduct large scale prescribed burns. This device makes it possible since it is combining live data in one, all at once.