In recent years, the number and scale of wildfires in the U.S. has risen, threatening cities and forests, and forcing large-scale evacuations. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is supporting the WIFIRE initiative, led jointly by the University of California (UC), San Diego, and the University of Maryland, to better monitor, predict and mitigate wildfires in the future.

WIFIRE merges observations, such as satellite imagery and real-time data from sensors in the field, with computational techniques like signal processing, visualization, modeling and data assimilation, to monitor environmental conditions and predict where and how fast a wildfire will spread. The project is part of the NSF Hazards SEES program, which enhances sustainability through the use of advanced technologies and new methods.

Participants in WIFIRE include researchers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology's (Calit2) Qualcomm Institute, and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department at UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering. Also participating in the project is the University of Maryland's Department of Fire Protection Engineering.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1331615, Hazards SEES Type 2: WIFIRE: A Scalable Data-Driven Monitoring, Dynamic Prediction and Resilience Cyberinfrastructure for Wildfires.

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Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent

Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer

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