• Alastair Majury

Data Science is Helping California Wildfires


Wildfires devastate lives and thousands of acres of land each year; saving lives from the wildfires is the focus of every rescue team's mission, and volunteers spend countless hours attempting to share vital information and connect affected individuals with life-saving resources.

In such a time-sensitive tragedy, it's vital that people are able to get updates and assistance in real-time. Data science is making that possible.

California Wildfire Crisis

The devastating effects of wildfires in California leave millions without electricity or access to vital resources. The fires themselves are a result of climate change, which is drying out plants and creating kindling that turns into wildfires with a single spark.

Federal aid is not able to respond as quickly as needed, which means its up to technology and data scientists to find ways to alert the public and help victims when a fire breaks out.

The Future of Data in Wildfire Relief

In 2019, David Wild, a data science researcher and educator, helped found the Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab at Indiana University. Wild is an associate professor of computer science at the university, and he is also a certified EMT with specialized training in emergency management.

Drawing upon his background in data science and emergency medicine, Wild is one of the leading innovators of data-driven response solutions. His work will help organizations use the power of historical data and artificial intelligence to create faster, more effective solutions in the wake of catastrophic emergencies.

Wild identified rebuilding communities, directing victims to shelters and providing updates about traffic incidents and power outages as potential benefits of data in crisis response.

By providing responders with more accurate, precise information, they can devise more personalized action plans that can save more lives. Moderators of national disasters can also be taken into account; AIs will be able to predict potential hazards based on a geographical region's changes in air quality, shifts in climate and past contributing circumstances.

Better Prevention

With data science compiling important facts and figures into sensible solutions, experts will have a greater chance of designing and implementing more effective preventative measures. With greater education comes greater awareness, and the effects of climate change will soon begin to emerge in clearer detail as data scientists use their knowledge to create technology committed to preserving the planet and saving lives.

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