Fighting forest fires with AI in French-speaking Switzerland

  • by Fabrice Delaye
  • 14 September 2021

A Vaud-based start-up has developed free software for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to predict the spread of forest fires in Bolivia.

Given its complexity, most simulation models of fire dynamics only work for specific locations. A team from Unit 8, specialising in developing data analysis tools with machine learning, an artificial intelligence technology based on big data, have created an algorithm based on a mix of open and proprietary data that could be applied to a wide range of situations.

Why it matters. The world has lost nearly 100 million hectares of forest in two decades, accelerating the loss of biodiversity. Forest fires are responsible for about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions.