In 2018, almost 2 million acres of land in the state of California were consumed by more than 8 thousand separate wildfires, causing more than $3.5 billion in damages. Residents were evacuated, homes lost, and utility outages throughout the state led to a decreased standard of living and further relocation for California residents.
One California utility company, seeking to take proactive, preventative measures and avoid future catastrophic damage to their infrastructure and financial loss, partnered with IBM and ISM Canada to develop a solution that enabled them to accurately predict wildfire-causing weather patterns in order to protect their company's customers, employees, and investment in infrastructure.
Meteorologists from the utility company had worked diligently in the past to understand and anticipate weather patterns that caused wildfire-inducing weather, including temperature spikes, lack of precipitation, and heavy wind gusts, but lacked a tool that could gather enough pertinent data and analyze it to provide clear, actionable results.
IBM and ISM Canada, with a team of data scientists, GIS experts and their partner, The Weather Company, created a cloud-based predictive analytics solution that combined immense volumes of weather-based telemetry from The Weather Company with geo-spatial data and provided accurate and actionable wildfire predictions. The solution not only aggregated, analyzed, and presented easily-digestible data for the utility company, but it also provided an overview of the service area map, with visual indicators for potential wildfire hotspots and company infrastructure that could be affected by wildfire activity.
With the solution implemented, the utility company is able to quickly identify weather patterns likely to result in wildfires. Real-time data ingestion provides up-to-the-second analytical results. The solution provides immediate email and mobile alerts that notify the appropriate utility company employees and fire-control personnel so wildfire damage can be contained and they protect against harm, inconvenience, and financial loss in their coverage area.
Wildfires start quickly and destroy property, infrastructure, and quality of life.
Predictive analytics help identify wildfire-causing weather patterns before they ignite, and provide immediate notifications to the necessary personnel, to take cost effective steps before a disaster escalates.
Reduction in loss of property and infrastructure from early identification. Protection of company customers, employees, investments, and reduced fire suppression costs.