Runaway wildfires are always a possibility in the fall, when Southern California is raked by stiff Santa Ana winds that blow across the region’s ubiquitous chaparral, the most flammable mix of brush land vegetation in the country. But this fire season may bring something truly hellacious.
WIFIRE is exactly the type of technology initiative that Tall Timbers and our partners have been looking for to take our fire science research and leap forward to the fire tools of the future.
The WIFIRE Lab, founded by Chief Data Science Officer Ilkay Altintas at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), is using the power of data science and supercomputing to provide officials with real-time fire models that help strategize the best approach to containment.
Wildfires are a nearly constant threat to lives, homes and business – an impact that cannot be diminished – but they are also a threat to ecosystems and climates.
New programs are being developed by startups and research institutions to predict fire behavior, monitor drought and even detect fires when they first start.
Thursday: A lab at the University of California, San Diego, uses data to figure out how fires will burn, and how to help prevent them.