Predict Forest Fires

Non-Profit Operations Improve Health Outcomes Reduce Risk Executive Summary
Prevent forest fires from spreading by predicting their occurrence 12 minutes faster than with previous methods
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Business Problem

In December 2019, as families across the world were celebrating the holiday with their loved ones, a disaster struck Chile. In Valparaiso, a port on Chile’s coast, forest fires blazed through the city and destroyed at least 200 homes. Throughout recent years, researchers at Columbia University estimate that forest fires have affected more than 500,000 acres of Chilean cities and forests. Forest fires not only have a severe impact on the social, economic, and health well beings of the people affected, but they also wipe out entire habitats of flora and fauna that are becoming increasingly rare.

Unfortunately, Chile is not alone – forest fires also devastate communities across the world, including those in the United States, Brazil, and Australia. The difficulty in preventing forest fires stems in the limitations of previous solutions, where sensors attached to trees across forests are only able to inform first responders of a forest fire once it has begun, leaving insufficient time for first responders to stop its spread.

Intelligent Solution

AI has a drastic impact on enabling first responders to prevent a forest fire from spreading by giving them the crucial minutes they need to stop a fire from starting. By learning from historical cases of forest fires and uncovering patterns that allow it to infer the future, AI is able to help Entel Ocean and Chilean authorities predict when forest fires are about to occur 12 minutes faster than previous solutions. As wildfires move at a speed of up to 7 miles per hour, a 12 minute head start means authorities can save about 1.5 miles of land.

Alongside its speed, AI is also significantly more accurate in predicting whether the sensors are truly exposed to a developing forest fire or if they are merely picking up particles of rain or smoke from a barbecue. This combination of speed and accuracy gives first responders at Entel Ocean the ability to preemptively travel to sites of concern and put an end to fires before they grow uncontrollably. While forest fires continue to threaten communities and natural habitats, AI has leveled the playing field by giving first responders the data they need to act with haste and certainty.

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