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How AI Is Fighting Wildfires


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Firefighters battling the Sugar fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex fire, Californias largest fire so far this year.

Ilkay Altintas is the founder and director of the University of California, San Diego's WIFIRE Lab, where she and her team have worked over the past eight years to use data to help fire managers and scientists.

Credit: Noah Berger/Associated Press

The University of California, San Diego's Ilkay Altintas and colleagues have spent eight years helping fire managers and scientists combat wildfires through the WIFIRE Lab.

Such efforts involve combining vast troves of information with artificial intelligence to rapidly predict fires' progression, and help plan countermeasures.

Examples include a fire map with an intuitive interface, which Altintas said was used to help fight every major fire in California; and the BurnPro 3D product, which displays three-dimensional images of vegetation down to a one-meter resolution.

Altintas said one of the lab's primary goals is to make data and data analysis accessible to a wide range of collaborators nationwide, since that is the only way researchers and officials can keep pace with evolving environmental crises.

From The New York Times
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