Fight Fire with Data

Until now, the accepted way to analyze smoke patterns has been through weather forecasting data updated every six hours, observations from front-line workers and low resolution satellite imagery. Higher quality data is available, but it exists in such massive amounts, it would take several computers to process.

That’s exactly what researchers at the University of Maryland intend to do. According to a press release on, “new research uses a cluster of IBM computers to instantly process the massive amounts of data available from drone aircraft, high-resolution satellite imagery and air quality sensors.”

The U.S. National Interagency Fire Center expects wildfires to increase as climate change and population growth are producing drier conditions. IBM officials said better wildfire smoke analysis should improve firefighting, decision-making, public evacuations and health warnings.

To read the full press release, please click here: