Wildfires are a growing threat in a world shaped by climate change. Now, researchers at Aalto University have developed a neural network model that can accurately predict the occurrence of fires in peatlands. They used the new model to assess the effect of different strategies for managing fire risk and identified a suite of interventions that would reduce fire incidence by 50-76%.
The study focused on the Central Kalimantan province of Borneo in Indonesia, which has the highest density of peatland fires in Southeast Asia. Drainage to support agriculture or residential expansion has made peatlands increasingly vulnerable to recurring fires. In addition to threatening lives and livelihoods, peatland fires release significant amounts of carbon dioxide. However, prevention strategies have faced difficulties because of the lack of clear, quantified links between proposed interventions and fire risk.
The new model uses measurements taken before each fire season in 2002-2019 to predict the distribution of peatland fires. While the findings can be broadly applied to peatlands elsewhere, a new analysis would have to be done for other contexts. ‘Our methodology could be used for other contexts, but this specific model would have to be re-trained on the new data,’ says Alexander Horton, the postdoctoral researcher who carried out study.
The researchers used a convolutional neural network to analyse 31 variables, such as the type of land cover and pre-fire indices of vegetation and drought. Once trained, the network predicted the likelihood of a peatland fire at each spot on the map, producing an expected distribution of fires for the year.
Overall, the neural network’s predictions were correct 80-95% of the time. However, while the model was usually right in predicting a fire, it also missed many fires that actually occurred. About half of the observed fires weren’t predicted by the model, meaning that it isn’t suitable as an early-warning predictive system. Larger groupings of fires tended to be predicted well, while isolated fires were often missed by the network. With further work, the researchers hope to improve the network’s performance so it can also serve as an early-warning system.
The team took advantage of the fact that fire predictions were usually correct to test the effect of different land management strategies. By simulating different interventions, they found that the most effective plausible strategy would be to convert shrubland and scrubland into swamp forests, which would reduce fire incidence by 50%. If this were combined with blocking all of the drainage canals except the major ones, fires would decrease by 70% in total.
However, such a strategy would have clear economic drawbacks. ‘The local community is in desperate need of long-term, stable cultivation to booster the local economy,’ says Horton.
An alternative strategy would be to establish more plantations, since well-managed dramatically reduce the likelihood of fire. However, the plantations are among the key drivers of forest loss, and Horton points out ‘the plantations are mostly owned by larger corporations, often based outside Borneo, which means the profits aren’t directly fed back into the local economy beyond the provision of labour for the local workforce.’
Ultimately, fire prevention strategies have to balance risks, benefits, and costs, and this research provides the information to do that, explains Professor Matti Kummu, who led the study team. ‘We tried to quantify how the different strategies would work. It’s more about informing policy-makers than providing direct solutions.’
Original Article: New AI system predicts how to prevent wildfires
More from: Aalto University
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Volunteers say goodbye to North Haven's Montowese Fire House, highlighting enrollment problem in fire service
Opened in 1932, North Haven’s Montowese Fire House was once staffed entirely by a volunteer fire company. A roster of 35 volunteers manned the station’s two engines, which responded to calls with six ...
- Why epic California rains might not prevent a dangerous fire season ahead
A series of January storms have left soils dampened and snowpack above average. Will this curb the upcoming fire season? Experts say it all depends ...
- Fire Prevention Inspection Software Market Will hold the largest industry share owing to the rising market popularity in Global countries
According to Latest Report(128 Latest Report Pages)]The Fire Prevention Inspection Software Market 2023 Size Is ...
- Federal wildfire prevention funding: Where in NM will it impact?
Federal officials gave new details to KOB 4 on funding for wildfire prevention efforts. Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced another round of taxpayer money from D.C. coming to a ...
- What are the main causes of home fires and how can we prevent them?
Being aware and prepared about home fire safety is the best way to prevent serious consequences, according to one of the state’s top fire and emergency service officials. “The goal is to build habits ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
[google_news title=”” keyword=”preventing wildfires” num_posts=”5″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Understanding plants can boost wildland-fire modeling in uncertain future
A new conceptual framework for incorporating the way plants use carbon and water, or plant dynamics, into fine-scale computer models of wildland fire provides a critical first step toward improved ...
- Score Predictions for Hornets at Bucks
Bucks 118, Hornets 107. Charlotte has played well recently winning its last two and four of its last six. That momentum comes to an end tonight against a Bucks ...
- Will recent storms save California from a brutal fire season?
Dry winters can pave the way for dangerous fire seasons fueled by dead vegetation, but wet winters—like the one the state has seen so far—can also spell danger by spurring heaps of new growth that can ...
- Understanding plants can boost wildland-fire modeling in an uncertain future
"Understanding the influences of vegetation structure and physiology on wildland fire is crucial to accurately predicting the behavior of fire and its effects," said L. Turin Dickman, a plant ...
- In the Mix: 2023 trend predictions, reasons for restaurant optimism, pickleball as a concept & more
Whether it's selling off wine cellars at fire-sale prices, creating elaborate cocktails to ... Plus, senior editor Joanna Fantozzi talks about her thoughts and predictions on hybrid ghost kitchens – ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
[google_news title=”” keyword=”predicting wildfires” num_posts=”5″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]