USA: Monitoring wildfire risk using space and AI
By Tara O'Shea, Director of Forest Programs at Planet
Planet, Salo Sciences, and Vibrant Planet are announcing a partnership to develop the California Forest Observatory (CFO)—a new platform that will dynamically map forest structure and fuel loads down to the tree level, statewide. Combining satellite imagery and artificial intelligence (AI), along with weather, climate, population, and infrastructure data, and supported through funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Observatory will provide an unprecedented, continuously updated view of wildfire risk in the State of California.
The Observatory will help the State and other stakeholders to prioritize, plan, and execute treatments of hazardous fuels, improve emergency wildfire operations, and monitor the short-term impacts and long-term benefits of improving forest resilience to wildfire, disease, and climate change.
The Observatory was conceived after many discussions with the scientific community, the US Forest Service, and CalFire. Funding from Tahoe Fund’s new Smartest Forest Fund, announced today, will partially support the design and development of a user-friendly “front end” interface for the Observatory to ensure broad usage. Experts in land management, emergency services, forest ecology, wildfire, meteorology, hydrology, wildlife biology, user experience, and cartography will continuously be engaged to optimize the design and build of the platform by Vibrant Planet, a strategic communications and product experience consultancy.