West Hub Member Ilkay Altintas Leads Project to Proactively Fight Fires

By: Cynthia Dillon, SDSC Communications and Kimberly Mann Bruch, West Hub


To mitigate the threat of massive wildfires, fire managers and first responders can set small controllable fires ahead of time to reduce flammable materials. West Hub member Ilkay Altintas, chief data science officer and director of the WIFIRE Lab at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, is principal investigator of a new National Science Foundation-funded project coined BurnPro3D.




Leading a nation-wide team of researchers, Altintas said that the team’s new decision support platform aims to help the fire response and mitigation community understand risks and tradeoffs quickly and accurately so that they can more effectively manage wildfires or conduct controlled burns. Leveraging the WIFIRE Commons data-sharing and artificial intelligence (AI) framework, the BurnPro3D platform uses next-generation fire science in prescribed burns for preemptive vegetation treatment at an unprecedented scale.




Altintas has been an expert in hazards and urgent computing for more than two decades – recently leading the West Hub’s spokes project Metroinsight. In the last several years, she has focused a significant part of her time on building the WIFIRE Lab and community, which now also encompasses BurnPro3D.


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About the West Big Data Innovation Hub: 

The West Big Data Innovation Hub is one of four regional hubs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build and strengthen strategic partnerships across industry, academia, nonprofits, and government. The West Hub community aims to catalyze and scale data science for societal needs – connecting research, education, and practice in thematic areas such as natural resources and hazards, metro data science, health, and data-enabled discovery and learning. Coordinated by UC Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society, the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the University of Washington, the West Hub region includes contributors and data enthusiasts from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and a global network of partners.

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