California to monitor wildfire risk using satellites and AI

Primarily designed as a planning and monitoring tool, the Observatory has many potential applications, in areas as far-reaching as emergency services, scientific research, risk-management, agriculture, insurance, and more.

Forest Fire Fire Smoke Conservation 51951

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., - Planet, Salo Sciences and Vibrant Planet are announcing a partnership to develop the California Forest Observatory (CFO) —a new platform that will dynamically map forest structure and fuel loads down to the tree level, statewide. The system combines satellite imagery and artificial intelligence (AI), along with weather, climate, population, and infrastructure data. The Observatory will provide a continuously updated view of wildfire risk in the state of California.

The Observatory will enable the State and other stakeholders to prioritize, plan, and execute treatments of hazardous fuels, improve emergency wildfire operations, and monitor the short-term impacts and long-term benefits of improving forest resilience to wildfire, disease, and climate change.

"With a majority of California's forests at high risk, the Observatory comes at a crucial time," said Helge Eng, Deputy Director of Resource Management at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire). "The data and technologies available today can help us better see, understand, and mitigate risk, as well as coordinate action to save lives and property."

The Observatory will leverage daily, high-resolution satellite imagery produced by Planet and other remote sensing data sources, the AI-powered scientific insights of Salo Sciences, and the stakeholder-engagement and strategic planning capabilities of Vibrant Planet.

Primarily designed as a planning and monitoring tool, the Observatory has many potential applications, in areas as far-reaching as emergency services, scientific research, risk-management, agriculture, insurance, and more.

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