Reports
Published: 16 January 2023

The Next Frontier in Fighting Wildfires: FireAId Pilot and Scaling

Wildfire severity, spread and frequency have all increased because of climate change. This poses a growing threat to forest ecosystems and high-risk rural areas. Critical services such as health and safety, forestry, natural disaster and emergency relief agencies, and rural planning are overburdened and the strain on these resources is likely to grow. There is a pressing need for technological innovation on three fronts – prediction, emergency response and forest management – with artificial intelligence (AI) able to help to predict the riskiest locations and the best possible strategy to mitigate fire hazards.

Wildfire severity, spread and frequency have all increased because of climate change. This poses a growing threat to forest ecosystems and high-risk rural areas. Critical services such as health and safety, forestry, natural disaster and emergency relief agencies, and rural planning are overburdened and the strain on these resources is likely to grow. There is a pressing need for technological innovation on three fronts – prediction, emergency response and forest management – with artificial intelligence (AI) able to help to predict the riskiest locations and the best possible strategy to mitigate fire hazards.

To address this worldwide issue, the World Economic Forum has launched FireAId – an initiative to mitigate wildfire risks using AI systems. The pilot study and solution approaches laid out in this report show how promising AI interventions can be scaled and replicated in different geographical areas, the enabling role governments can play to align and support these efforts, and avenues for the private sector to engage as part of multistakeholder partnerships that will advance the collective response to this escalating crisis.

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