Brutal heatwave triggers wildfires across California

Brutal heatwave triggers wildfires across California

Numerous wildfires fueled by wind, drought and relentless heat continue to scorch California. The Lake Fire, the state’s second-largest wildfire this year, has already burned more than 26,000 acres of land in Santa Barbara County.

USC researchers are currently developing solutions to combat wildfires. These experts are available to discuss the current fires and the promising ongoing research that could help mitigate future threats, including predicting the next wildfires and how best to contain them.

Contact: Nina Raffio, [email protected] or (213) 442-8464; USC Media Relations, [email protected] or (213) 740-2215

Forest fire forecasting with generative AI and satellite data

Assad OberaiAssad Oberai is a machine learning expert who addresses real-world challenges by combining data analysis with the laws of physics. He is currently part of a research team exploring AI-powered methods to improve wildfire prediction.

Their latest research uses generative AI and satellite data to track the evolution of fires over time and more accurately predict their potential spread patterns. This could revolutionize wildfire management by allowing firefighters and policymakers to anticipate a fire’s behavior and allocate resources more effectively.

Oberai is the Hughes Professor and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Contact: [email protected]

AI-supported forest fire mapping

AI and endangered species: Bistria Dilkina

Bistra Dilkina is part of a research team that uses artificial intelligence to create accurate fire models that predict how a fire might behave under different conditions. By analyzing real-time data on wind, terrain and vegetation, these models enable firefighters to make informed decisions on the ground.

As an expert in computational sustainability, Dilkina specializes in AI applications that address critical environmental problems. Her research includes species conservation, analyzing the impacts of climate change on energy, water, habitat and migration, and optimizing the disaster resilience of critical infrastructure.

Dilkina is an associate professor of computer science at USC Viterbi and co-director of the USC Center of AI in Society (CAIS).

Contact: [email protected]

Lessons from history: redesigning modern wildfire strategies in the West

Bill DeverellBill Deverell is an expert in the environmental history of the American West and founding director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. Deverell leads the institute’s West on Fire Initiative, which aims to historically contextualize wildfires in the West, integrate diverse knowledge about fire, and increase public awareness of the region’s relationship with fire. The initiative brings together a diverse group of fire experts, including ecologists, Indigenous fire practitioners, U.S. Forest Service staff, geoscientists, economists, political scientists, journalists, archivists, and curators.

Deverell is dean of the social sciences and professor of history, spatial sciences, and environmental studies at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Contact: [email protected]