Artificial intelligence in the fight against forest fires

Artificial intelligence in the fight against forest fires

In the battle for the prevention and treatment of forestry fires between the Artificial intelligence through innovative programs that have been developed, whose coordinator is the National Observatory of Athens.

These are two innovative programs “Deep Cube” and “SeasFire” which started in January 2021 and March 2022 respectively and through the use of artificial intelligence technologies they seek to assess the risk of forest fires in different ways.

Artificial intelligence in the fight against forest fires-1

As Yannis Papoutsis, researcher commissioned at the National Observatory of Athens, at the Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, newly elected at the National Technical University of Athens, points out to of the APE – MPE, “the objective of Deep Cube is to use a very large amount of satellite data available today, freely and freely, combined with artificial intelligence technologies to be able to extract new information from satellite data”, and adds that in Deep Cube there are various technologies and applications, one of which is forest fire risk assessment for the next day. “It is an application that we have developed in collaboration with the firefighters”, he specifies in reference to the start of the fire season today.

Expansion throughout the Mediterranean

Last year, the specific program operated as a pilot for Greece, but this year its application has been extended to the entire Mediterranean. “As a country and as an institution (National Observatory of Athens) we have innovated, we are among the first. We will also develop it for other countries, within the framework of other programs that have been requested of us , in Spain for example and we will also do it for the whole of the Mediterranean”, he underlines.

“Through this innovative program, we are trying to solve the problem of risk prevention, which is complex and multidimensional because it is a series of environmental and other parameters that interact with each other, increasing or decreasing the risk every time. Indeed, it is difficult to model, so we are trying to train an AI system to learn all these complex and non-linear interactions between all these parameters. This can happen by leveraging historical data. We let a model take these parameters as input and based on the history of the burned areas learn these complex interrelationships.And then after training this model we put it into production.On a daily basis we collect all these parameters and make an estimate for the next day”, notes Mr. Papoutsis to the APE-MBE and adds the important contribution of firefighters to this project.

Based on the “Deep Cube”, the research team of the Orion Laboratory of IAADET/EAA proceeded after one year, in March 2022, to the development of a second pioneering program of “SeasFire” financed by the Agency European space. “SeasFire” studies forest fire risk assessment but on a different time scale, 2, 3, 4, 5 months from today. “After DeepCube, we took the courage to go further and see how we can use artificial intelligence to predict the frequency and intensity of forest fires in Europe in the long term. A basic assumption we make is the butterfly effect, that is, something that happened in the past, in another part of the planet, can affect what will happen here and now, and that is because it is a large interconnected system with natural processes that affect each other at varying spatial and temporal distances. These are teleconnections. This is what we are trying to model in SeasFire and we are let’s focus on Europe, but in order to be able to assess seasonal fire risk in Europe, we need to get information about what’s happening in the Atlantic Ocean, what’s happening in Africa, what’s happening in other regions of the planet in the past to be able to predict what will happen this summer. This is its innovation”, underlines Mr. Papoutsis at the APE-MPE.

Prevention of natural disasters

According to Mr. Papoutsis, the scientific community is rapidly advancing in the direction of using artificial intelligence to prevent these phenomena. “The question is how all these technological tools that exploit artificial intelligence and satellite data will gain the trust of business people. So we must build trust and understanding in these tools, in order to be able to use them in a way operational,” notes Mr. Papoutsis.

In recent years, it seems that artificial intelligence has been increasingly used by the scientific community in combination with climatological and satellite data. “There is a lot of mobility and it shows that artificial intelligence can offer a lot. In the coming years we will also have very good results in terms of the use of artificial intelligence in the whole phase of the management cycle Such applications will continue to come out and are already coming out of the scientific community, the question is how they will be integrated into an operational plan or a response based on the protocols that the Civil Protection, the Fire Brigade, the OASP or the “other organizations responsible for managing natural disasters. This is another matter and concerns national policy and a phase of systematic evaluation and also of co-development of certain services”, specifies Mr. Papoutsis.]

Source: APE – MEB

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