April 21, 2024

California firefighters compete to develop new technology to stop wildfires – NBC Los Angeles

Firefighters across California are participating in a four-year competition to invent new technologies to fight fires and put an end to destructive wildfires.

The competition XPRIZE Wildfire incentivizes the private sector to help develop new ways to detect wildfires before they get too big and cause damage to ecosystems.

“Fires aren’t getting any smaller,” said Chief Brian Fennessy with the Orange County Fire Authority. “They’re not spreading any slower, and we have to look at the private sector to help fight them.”

According to XPRIZE, extreme wildfire events burn at a “higher intensity” and account for 80% of total associated fire-damages, adding to the growing global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Firefighters can only do so much with the resources that they have,” said San Bernardino County Fire Chief Dan Munsey. “We can spend millions of dollars more on fire engines, helicopters, fire trucks, and we’re only going to make a limited difference.”

More than 200 teams signed up for the XPRIZE Wildfire competition, and $11 million in prizes will be paid out over four years.

There are two competition tracks in which firefighting teams will compete, one focused on the detection and characterization of the fire. The other track will look to find response solutions and suppression materials.

More information on the competition is available on the XPRIZE Wildfire website, including the full list of California teams participating.

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