Is artificial intelligence the next tool to fight wildfires?


With wildfires becoming bigger and more destructive as the western part of the United States dries out and heats up, agencies and officials tasked with preventing and battling the blazes could soon have a new tool to add to their arsenal of prescribed burns, pick axes, chainsaws and aircraft. The high-tech help could come from an area not normally associated with fighting wildfires: artificial intelligence (AI). Lockheed Martin Space, based in Jefferson County, is tapping decades of experience in managing satellites, exploring space and providing information to the US military to offer more accurate data quicker to ground crews. It is talking to the US Forest Service, university researchers, and a Colorado state agency about how their technology could help. By generating more timely information about on-the-ground conditions and running computer programs to process massive amounts of data, Lockheed Martin representatives say they can map fire perimeters in minutes rather than the hours it can take now.

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