• Ryan Honary

Why early detection is the only solution for preventing catastrophic wildfires

Wildfires are an atrocious environmental disaster and with climate change, they are only getting worse. These fires blaze through land at astonishing speeds of ten to fifteen miles per hour. They destroy homes, endanger humans and animals, and pollute the environment, making the air unhealthy for all living organisms. Worst of all, this is a global problem. Massive wildfires have spread from places such as Australia, the Amazon rainforest, Greece, and Turkey.


Recently, the Caldor fire struck the Lake Tahoe area. According to a recent New York Times article, “Bursting across a granite ridge into the Lake Tahoe basin, the Caldor fire now threatens tens of thousands of homes and hotels that ring the lake.” Thousands of firefighters, twenty-five helicopters, more than four hundred fire trucks and seventy water trucks responded to stop the fire, yet it still advanced. Even after dropping retardant chemicals to slow the devastating flames, it still advanced. The fire now seems unstoppable, and sadly the town of South Lake Tahoe has been evacuated and one of the most beautiful landmarks of California is now shrouded in smoke and flames with an uncertain future.



After reading this news, it became evident that trying to put out the fire after it became very large was almost impossible. The only solution would be early detection. If the fire was detected early on, it could have been put out at only the size of a one or two-story house. Best of all, if my idea were executed effectively and successfully, these fires would finally have a solution! In addition, once these fires were detected quickly, machine learning algorithms can be run to predict where the fire would grow so firefighters know where to act first.


My system runs as such: a fire detector detects that a fire has erupted. The information is then spread quickly from detector to detector. Eventually, it will reach a mini meteorological station. At the mini meteorological station, machine learning will be run using multiple input variables such as wind speed and wind direction, solid moisture, and more to predict where the fire will grow. All the information will eventually be sent to an app that both firefighters and the average person can own. If a person is in the path of the fire, then a notification would be sent to the person's phone telling them that there is a fire coming their way and that they should evacuate as quickly as possible. The firefighters will gain the information of where the fire is and where it is spreading so that they then know where they should act.


In conclusion, I believe that my platform can be a very effective and successful solution to the wildfire problem. As these wildfires are erupting more and more, the need for a solution is becoming increasingly dire. My solution to the wildfire problem would save electric companies and people a great amount of money, prevent the destruction of people’s homes and land, and would save the lives of humans, plants, animals, and insects. This would also help keep our world a better and cleaner place. My team and firefighters can work together to eradicate the wildfire problem once and for all.


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