AI helps fire detection, but no substitute for ‘boots on the ground’

By Cindy White
May 25, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

AI and other technologies may help detect wildfires sooner, but the human element is still integral to preventing fires from spreading, says a local researcher. A wildfire solutions symposium is scheduled to run in Kelowna from June 3 to 5, and one of the co-hosts has been leading the charge to snuff out the flames before they explode into the kind of destructive infernos we saw last summer in parts of the Southern Interior. Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais, with the Centre for Wildfire Coexistence at UBC Okanagan, has been working with Rogers Communications for the past three years. His team has been installing low-cost sensors in the forest that collect data on moisture levels and other elements used to predict fire risk. There are about 100 scattered around the Okanagan. The data is helping craft models to predict where fires might start and what that fire might do.

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