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Climate and Environment

Computer Scientists Develop New AI Technology To Prevent Wildfires

Firefighters in a field of tall grass face a large fire and thick smoke.
Computer scientists have developed new artificial intelligence technology to help prevent wildfires.
(Justin Sullivan
Getty Images)
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As wildfires get bigger, stronger and more frequent on the West Coast, experts are urging prevention by focusing on prescribed fires. Researchers at UC San Diego are currently developing a new tool, using artificial intelligence and data science, to make it easier to plan and carry out controlled burns.

Computer scientist Ilkay Altintas is founder of the university's WIFIRE Lab, which is developing what is called the "Burn Pro 3-D" platform.

"In fire mitigation, land managers will use Burn Pro 3D to prioritize high-risk areas when creating five-year plans for land use," Altintas said. "And burn bosses, who actually run these prescribed burns, will be able to generate multiple scenarios and optimize plans for carrying out specific fires with better confidence."

Altintas says "Burn Pro 3-D" should be completed in the next two years.