AI could be used to predict wildfires: researchers

Researchers and forest managers are turning to artificial intelligence in the hope it will help them predict risks of catastrophic wildfires.

Mike Flannigan at the University of Alberta says it's been the subject of more than 150 recent academic studies.

And one of the world's largest insurance companies says it has worked out how to use A-I to anticipate where large-scale wildfires could break out.

Balz Grollimund of Zurich-based Swiss Re says artificial intelligence is well-suited to sorting through hundreds of data points that can predict when and where a blaze will begin.

He says his program could be used to anticipate the fire risk for communities across Canada.

Flannigan is more cautious and says current fire-prediction methods work well, but he adds that computers may help forest managers anticipate where to position firefighters and equipment.