The human, property and environmental toll from wildfires has increased dramatically in recent years. Once remote and seasonal, wildfires now rage globally throughout the year and are encroaching more and more on communities and property. In just the past few years, climate change-fueled “megafires” have ravaged the Western United States, Australia, South Korea, Siberia and elsewhere.
Climate-driven wildfires have cascading impacts that are far greater than previously thought. In a study published in December 2020 in Nature Sustainability, academics from University College London, the University of California, Irvine, China’s Tsinghua University and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics found that the combined health, direct capital and indirect economic losses of the 2018 California fire season alone cost the U.S. economy more than $148.5bn, of which $45.9bn was lost outside of California. The cascading impacts beyond direct loss of life and property include power supply disruption, lost productivity due to air pollution and related health impacts, supply chain and transportation network disruption throughout the United States and internationally, and others.
The Insight Platform can serve as the foundation for a wildfire situational awareness network, combining data from a range of sources including key weather factors (heat, wind, humidity, precipitation), video surveillance including drones which are increasingly being used in wildfire situations, and other available data.