Just last year, the United States saw 58,985 wildfires… 17% more than in 2019… 223% more than 1983.
Those fires scorched about 7.1 million acres of land.
Three of the biggest wildfires in California’s history occurred in 2021.
All but three of the state’s 20 biggest wildfires have happened since 2000.
Wildfire is a problem we’re desperate to solve.
One method in our arsenal is minimizing the susceptibility of forests. We use prescribed burns to do that.
By eliminating dead leaves, tree limbs and other debris, reducing insect populations, destroying invasive plants, and clearing space in the forest to allow future growth to flourish, prescribed fires are a useful way to prime the land for sustained health.
That’s why there are about 4,500 prescribed fires per year spanning roughly 1.4 million acres of land. And, 99.84% of the time, these prescribed fires go as planned.
However, this week the U.S. Forest Service announced a 90-day ban on prescribed fires after multiple broke containment and spurred full-on wildfires.
The most notable of these is still raging in New Mexico – the Hermits Peak Fire. The prescribed fire was set April 6. After breaking containment thanks to high winds, it has now covered 311,148 acres and is just 41% under control. That’s another way of saying that it’s not.
So, with climate change causing higher temperatures, more prolonged droughts, and stronger winds, the continued viability of prescribed fires is in doubt.
As the New Mexico Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, recently said, “It is critical that federal agencies update and modernize these practices in response to changing climate.”
Thankfully, there are startups focused on creating modern solutions to this ever-increasing problem. They’re using artificial intelligence, automation, and technological advancements to fight a rapidly worsening problem.
Wavemaker Labs founder and CEO, Buck Jordan, recently launched his New Wave Syndicate service, where he shares the best of the best in AI and automation startups that cross his desk.
It’s no coincidence that his first deal recommendation focuses on solving this exact problem.
This startup is already revolutionizing the wildfire containment industry, and through commercial partnerships with governmental organizations, it is actively developing the type of solution for prescribed fires that Governor Grisham is calling for.
The Research Team